Dental Care for your Pet

Pet Dental Care

cat cleaning dog teeth, Seaford dentalPets have dental diseases and problems just like you do. Many of these problems can be avoided by bringing your pet to your veterinarian for regular dental check-ups and dental cleanings.

Dental disease can be avoided

Signs of Dental Problems

  • Bad breath – one of the first signs of dental disease
  • A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth or gums are touched
  • Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
  • Loose or missing teeth

Does your pet have bad breath or reddened gums?

If so, it could be from gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs when soft plaque hardens into rough, irritating tartar. Tartar build-up on your pet’s teeth can cause damage to the teeth and gums.

Periodontal Disease – Cat                        Periodontal Disease – Dog

If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to an infection called periodontal disease. This disease can cause the loss of teeth.

Close-Up of Infected Teeth Associated with Periodontal Disease

You can prevent serious dental problems from happening by making sure your pet receives dental exams at the time of each vaccination, again at six months of age, and then annually.

Dental Cleanings

Veterinary dentistry is quite different from the equivalent process in people. For most of us, caring for our teeth and gums has been part of our daily routine for as long as we can remember. Consequently, a person’s visit to the dental hygienist is relatively brief and does not require sedation. In contrast, veterinary dentistry is considerably more involved, time-consuming, and complex. It requires general anesthesia, and consequently a day’s hospitalization and the skills of several people, from veterinarians to veterinary nurses.

Predental Workup

A predental workup involves laboratory and diagnostic tests to better evaluate a pet’s current health status and to assure safe anesthesia. Current medical problems must be evaluated and any possible unknown problems must be identified prior to dentistry.

For otherwise healthy animals, we suggest a brief in-hospital blood screen on the day of the dentistry.

Teeth Cleaning

Your pet’s dental cleaning will begin with a physical examination. This is important to evaluate your pet’s general health. After the physical exam, your pet is given an anesthesia for a safe and painless sleep during the dental cleaning.

The first part of dental cleaning requires the removal of tartar. This is done with a hand scaler.

Hand Scaling Dog’s Teeth

Next, a periodontal probe checks for pockets under the gumline where periodontal disease and bad breath starts. A mechanical scaler is used to clean above the gumline while a curette cleans and smoothes the teeth under the gumline in the crevice.

Your pet’s teeth are polished, creating a smooth surface. The gums are washed with an anti- bacterial solution to help delay tartar build-up both under the gumline and on the crown of the tooth.

Polishing of Teeth

Home prevention

Dental care does not end with a visit to your veterinarian. You need to continue your veterinarian’s good work at home. Brushing your pet’s teeth is an important part of home dental care. The staff at Familypet Vet clinic will show you the proper method of brushing your Dog’s teeth.

Give your pet complete dental care

Annual veterinary dental care and home dental care will help keep your pet’s breath fresh and gums and teeth healthy. Your pet’s smile and healthier life will be equaled by your smile and pride in a job well done.

 

Dental Care Q & A

1.            HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE MY PET’S TEETH CHECKED?

After the examination for any retained “baby teeth” which is performed at six months, your pet should have an annual checkup for dental health when it receives its yearly booster vaccines.

2.            DO PETS GET CAVITIES LIKE HUMANS?

Cavities are not as common in pets, but do occur occasionally. Frequently in cats “subgingival caries” may form, when the gum lines have receded excessively, exposing the dentine layer that is much softer than enamel.

 

3.            WHY DOES MY DOG OR CAT HAVE BAD BREATH?

The most common cause of bad breath is excessive tartar deposits on the teeth. Bacteria feed and live in the tartar and produce offensive odors. Tartar is a crusty collection of food particles, minerals, and bacteria that forms at the tooth/gum borders. However, metabolic diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, etc. can also produce halitosis.

4.            DOES TARTAR ON THE TEETH HURT MY PET?

Yes. As tartar accumulates at the gum line, it causes gum recession and inflammation or “gingivitis”. This allows bacteria in the tartar to infect and loosen the base of the tooth, causing periodontal disease. In pets, periodontal disease may lead to an infection of the heart (endocarditis) and/or of other organs, as also may occur in people. Inflammation of the gums and infection of the teeth can cause your pet considerable pain, and his/her appetite and general attitude may deteriorate.

5.            HOW CAN I PREVENT TARTAR BUILDUP?

Feed your pet a well-balanced, commercial diet. Brushing the teeth is an excellent way to check tartar build-up, though once hard plaque has developed, your pet may require a dentistry. Brushing with C.E.T., a flavored toothpaste designed for pets, 2-3 times weekly, discourages tartar build-up.

For dogs, Booda bones, Nylabones, or large rawhide chew toys are also helpful as preventative and also aid in stimulation of the gums. If your pet does not let you brush the teeth, you may use one of the pre-made mouthwashes e.g. Nolvadent. Alternatively, if you cannot provide maintenance, you may need to have us perform full dental scaling and polishing on a more frequent basis.

6.            WHEN IS DENTISTRY REQUIRED?

Dentistry is required when hardened tartar deposits have occurred and/or when periodontal disease is present. It is also required when substantial mouth odor exists, which indicates infection or decay even if it is not readily apparent.

7.            HOW LONG WILL THE TEETH REMAIN CLEAN?

This depends on diet, dental alignment, amount of gum recession that has already occurred, and future care of the teeth. Smaller breeds tend to develop tartar much more quickly; in most cases this is a genetic predisposition and not something the owner can readily modify. However, the degree to which the owner provides ongoing dental prophylaxis heavily influences the outcome!