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It is estimated that 80% of pets exhibit the beginning stages of periodontal disease by age 3, which is why dental exams and teeth cleanings are essential. Also, studies indicate that pets with good oral hygiene tend to live 2 to 4 years longer than pets who neglect dental care. While periodontal disease is entirely preventable, when left untreated it can lead to cardiac disease, kidney infection, liver infection, or stroke.
Reasons for regular dental check-ups:
Avoid tooth loss due to periodontal disease.
Help your pet avoid unnecessary pain.
Help your pet maintain healthy and functional teeth.
Improve foul breath.
Prevent potential damage to the brain, heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys.
What does a pet dental exam involve?
Pets can experience many of the same dental issues that humans do, including gingivitis and periodontal disease, requiring routine cleanings. Regular dental exams and cleanings can help you avoid the costliness of involved dental procedures and can help prevent your pet from unnecessary suffering.
Pet dental evaluations are similar to human dental exams and involve teeth cleaning, polishing and sealing. The difference is that pets need to be sedated in order to complete a thorough oral exam and dental xrays. If more serious conditions are discovered, deep scaling, periodontal treatment, or dental extractions might be required.
During your pet’s teeth cleaning, a dental technician will gently clean the surface of the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler that cleans using the vibration of sound waves and water. The waves push the water creating tiny scrubbing bubbles that implode on tooth surfaces and kill microbes as they separate plaque from the tooth structure. After scaling the teeth, the technician lightly buffs and polishes your pet’s teeth to complete their dental cleaning, then applies a sealant that helps prevent plaque build up for up to 2 weeks.
After the cleaning, we will provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your pet’s oral health. You will receive at-home oral hygiene tips specific to your pet. Home dental care is critical to maintaining good oral hygiene in your pet, just as brushing is critical to our oral health.
Some simple home hygiene tips are:
Brushing your pet’s teeth as little as 3 times a week can cut down on 50-60% of tartar build-up.
Dental products specifically designed for pets, including Oravet treats, t/d treats, or CET rinses can help protect gums and lessen tartar. The Veterinary Oral Health Council has developed a list of products that have met pre-set standards of plaque and tartar reduction in dogs and cats. For a full list of the products, visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council
Dry pet food is better for teeth than canned food; it causes abrasion to tooth surfaces when chewed, helping remove tartar build-up.
There are many pet toys that support dental health. Buying your pets these toys not only entertains them, but offers a dual purpose in helping clean teeth.
Remember, creating a smooth clean tooth surface makes it more difficult for tartar and plaque to build up!
If you would like to schedule a professional dental assessment for your pet, call our office to schedule an appointment, and allow your pet to experience a healthy smile!