Oral & Dental Health
An often over-looked, but critical part of your pet’s overall health care is dental care. A pet with an unhealthy mouth is an unhealthy pet. Years ago, we assumed that all dogs would eventually have dirty, stained teeth and that their breath smelled, ’doggy’. Today, it is a known fact that dogs with healthy mouths have clean, tartar-free teeth and a pleasant mouth odor. Animals with dirty teeth and foul breath have oral disease; they may have mouth pain and are more likely to suffer from diseases related to mouth bacteria. Sadly, cats, ferrets, and other small pets also suffer from dental disease, but shouldn’t. All of our pets benefit from veterinary care of their mouths and teeth.
Facts About Your Pet’s Mouth
- ALL pets need twice yearly mouth examinations.
- Bad breath is a sign of dental disease - your pet should be examined as soon as possible.
- Small breeds of dogs have the most problems with their teeth. Their teeth are crowded and can easily build up plaque.
- 60% of disease is below the gum line - it can only be identified during a dental cleaning and often requires dental x-rays.
- Pets should have their teeth brushed at home every day.
- Pets need routine professional cleaning - this is done at the animal hospital.
- 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the time they are 3 years old!
- Signs of dental disease: pain, excessive drooling, broken or loose teeth, bleeding gums, sores or wounds in the mouth or on the cheeks, odor from the face or mouth.
Facts About Puppies and Kittens
- Puppies and kittens need mouth exams to make sure their teeth are coming in properly. Misaligned teeth can cause problems.
- Retained baby teeth need removal. The veterinarians will advise you as to the proper time to remove them.
- Brushing and other home care can prevent a lifetime of dental problems.
Preventable Problems Related to Dental Disease
Many health problems are linked to improper care of your pet’s teeth. Proper, routine cleaning and care will not prevent every disease, but will help eliminate mouth disease as a cause of the following problems.
- Tooth loss
- Heart murmurs and worsening heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Oral abscesses
- Bad breath (halitosis)
Dental Services We Offer
- The basis of all oral care is a thorough mouth examination.
- Dental x-rays are taken using state-of-the-art radiographic equipment. Dental radiographs are an important component of dental care, as they allow the doctors to fully identify the cause and extent of any oral problem. These specialized x-rays are taken while the pet is under anesthesia and may help the veterinarian uncover mouth problems that do not show on an external examination.
- A comprehensive, individualized plan will be set up for your pet.
- Blood work is required prior to treatment.
- General anesthesia is required for all dental work.
- Dental Prophylaxis: This preventive care is a thorough cleaning and polishing procedure available to all pets with healthy mouths or mild problems. It helps to prevent severe oral problems, such as gingivitis and tooth loss. Your pet is placed under general anesthesia and the teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic tip to remove tartar, the tissues below the gums are cleaned, and the teeth are polished. Then, fluoride is applied to help strengthen the enamel. Dental prophylaxis may be needed up to twice per year for pets with a tendency to accumulate tartar.
- Dental Treatment: If your pet has disease in the mouth, gingivitis, periodontal disease, an abscess, or broken or loose teeth, the doctor will recommend appropriate therapy to treat the problem. Treatment of these problems is performed under general anesthesia.
- We are pleased to offer a dental vaccine that helps prevent periodontal disease in dogs.