Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.
Common signs of dental disease include:
- Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Loose teeth
Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.
We use a Nomad Pro2 portable dental x-ray unit to enhance our dental diagnostic capabilities. Periodontal disease processes are not always visible without proper intra-oral radiography. This unit facilitates early diagnosis and intervention which has been proven to extend the life of your pets.
Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly enough, they can result in death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if infection in the mouth has spread.
If your pet is diagnosed with periodontal disease during a dental exam, the best treatment is going to be a professional cleaning. A dental cleaning includes scaling and polishing the pet’s teeth. A thorough oral exam including under the gumline will be completed while the pet is under anesthesia. Once the basic cleaning is completed, a full assessment will be made and Dr. Gray or one of our Associate Veterinarians will discuss recommendations for other dental services which may be needed, and will go over the importance of a home dental care routine.
There is no doubt that a professional dental cleaning will give pets a fresh start toward a healthier mouth. But rather than taking our word for it, take a look at these pictures that clearly show the difference that can be made:
Schedule your pet’s dental exam today! We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.