Why is dental care so important?
- Gum infections hurt! It can make it difficult to eat to the point of avoiding eating due to pain.
- Their breath can become so putrid that you no longer enjoy their sweet kisses...or are even able to be in the same room as them.
- Retained baby teeth can cause problems in pets too! Did you know that full grown dogs have 42 teeth and full grown cats have 30 teeth? Before their adult teeth grow in, though, the baby teeth have to fall out. Sometimes, not all of the baby teeth want to come out. This can lead to problems like gum irritation and tartar buildup. We can remove retained baby teeth if necessary.
- All dogs, Chihuahua to Great Dane, have 42 teeth in their mouth. Since small dogs obviously have smaller mouths, they tend to have more dental issues than larger dogs. They tend to have more crowding and tartar buildup, so they need more frequent dental cleanings and more home dental care.
- Did you know that 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3 years have some sort of periodontal disease? It can be caused by the buildup of plaque, so it's important to go in for regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Bad breath is often a first indicator of dental disease. Cats may exhibit increased drooling. Both cats and dogs can exhibit reluctance to eat or play with toys, "chattering" of the teeth when trying to eat, lethargy, bleeding gums, eroded teeth, and failing to groom (cats). Dental disease progresses in stages, if caught early; you can prevent further damage and save as many teeth as possible. Cats can be prone to developing cavities; these are rarely seen in dogs.
- Infected gums and teeth aren't just a problem in the mouth--the heart, kidneys, intestinal tract, and joints may also be infected. The tartar and any infected areas of the mouth contain a multitude of bacteria that can travel to other parts of the body.
Clean & Polishing Teeth
All dental procedures require an anesthetic. Without the patient being anesthetized, cleaning their teeth properly would be near impossible since they do not "open wide". The patient will be started with an intravenous anesthetic, a tube is then placed in their trachea, and then a gas anesthetic will be administered. It is a very safe anesthetic that is also used in human surgery.
Your dog or cat buddy's teeth will be cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler, the same is used in your dentist's office. The tartar and plaque will be removed with the scaler by blasting it with ultrasonic waves, and the teeth are then polished. Often times there are teeth that need to be removed because they are abscessed, have cavities, and are loose or broken. Special precautions must be taken to remove canines from the lower jaw so that the jawbone does not fracture. The gum line may be sutured together to cover the tooth socket.
Sometimes there is a large amount of infection from the tartar and plaque build up on the teeth. We may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent these types of infections from spreading or reoccurring.
Your pet's first step for a healthy mouth...
Call today to schedule a dental exam to confirm your pet's dental grade and what their doctor recommends to ensure a healthy mouth.