- We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide.
Percentage of Dogs and Cats with Dental Disease
Proper dental care is an important part of healthcare for your pet. By three years of age, about 80 percent of all dogs and 70 percent of all cats show signs of dental disease. Dental disease can lead to more serious problems of heart, lung, and kidney disease. Fido’s dog breath and Tabby’s tuna breath aren’t something to be ignored – this could indicate an oral problem, and the sooner you have it treated, the sooner you and your pet can smile proudly.
The Stages of Periodontal Disease
Plaque and tartar form naturally when food remains in the cracks and crevices of the teeth, especially at the gum line. At this point, the plaque is still soft so brushing or chewing hard food and toys can dislodge it. If left to spread, plaque can lead to gingivitis – an inflammation of the gums.
Plaque soon hardens into tartar that forms a wedge separating the tooth from the gum. At this point, plaque can grow below the gum line causing damage requiring professional cleaning. If the plaque and tartar buildup continue unchecked, the tooth becomes infected.
In the final and irreversible stages of periodontal disease, the tissue surrounding the tooth is killed, the bony socket holding the tooth erodes, and the tooth falls out. This is a very painful process for your pet. But you can help avert problems before they start.
Did you know…Any food will cause problems if teeth are never cleaned. However, canned food tends to stick more easily to the surfaces of the teeth so it is more likely to cause plaque than dry food.
Your veterinarian should perform a dental exam, along with a puppy's or kitten’s routine booster vaccines, at two, three, and four months old, and annually thereafter. In between exams, you can help keep your pet’s teeth healthy by brushing every other day:
- Place your hand over the muzzle from the top.
- Gently squeeze and push the top jowls (or lips) on one side over the top row of teeth (to keep the mouth open).
- Pull the head back gently so the mouth opens.
- Brush teeth on the opposite side. (The easiest way is to wrap a piece of gauze around your finger and rub the teeth gently.)
- Ask your vet for an enzymatic toothpaste or CET Oral Rinse. DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE.
- Pet toothbrushes are available through your vet or pet supply store.
- Yellow/brownish-colored teeth
- Red, inflamed, or bleeding gums
- Loose teeth/loss of teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Difficulty chewing
Dental Cleaning and Oral Cancer Exam
Annually a comprehensive oral health evaluation, full-mouth intra-oral xrays, tooth cleaning, scaling and polishing should be performed. This is performed under general anesthesia by a Veterinarian and Licensed Veterinary Technician team. After assessment of the oral cavity, a treatment plan will be recommended by the doctor. While your pet is under anesthesia, the doctor will also check for oral cancer. This is hard to do while your pet is awake. Find out more about what's involved in a dental cleaning.
Forms You Will Need (these can be filled out in advance or on the morning of the procedure)
Keep your pet smiling and healthy!!