Pets can experience many of the same dental issues that humans do, including gingivitis and periodontal disease, requiring routine cleanings. Did you know that studies indicate pets with good oral hygiene tend to live 2 to 4 years longer than those pets whose dental care is neglected? 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. Dental tartar leads to periodontal disease, infection, loose and often painful teeth. While periodontal disease is entirely preventable, when left untreated it can lead to cardiac disease, kidney infection, liver infection, or stroke. Regular dental check-ups will help maintain your pet's healthy mouth, help avoid unnecessary pain, prevent tooth loss, prevent potential damage to their major organs and avoid costly involved dental procedures. You might even want to cuddle with them more often because their breath will smell better!
How does animal dentistry work?
Prior to any procedure, we will assess the current state of your pet's mouth during an oral exam. This assessment does not give us a complete picture but will allow us to come up with a general estimate of work required. Pet dental procedures are similar to human dental care and involve cleaning, polishing and sealing of the teeth. The difference is that pets need to be sedated in order to complete a thorough oral exam, cleaning and dental xrays. It is only during the procedure that we can accurately evaluate the current state of your pets teeth, gums and bone. If more serious conditions are discovered, deep scaling, periodontal treatment, or dental extractions may be required. Our technicians will label a dental chart during the procedure so we have a record for future appointments.
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 vibrations of sound waves and water. After scaling, the technician gently polishes your pets teeth to complete their dental cleaning, as a smooth tooth surface makes it more difficult for plaque and tarter to form. The technician 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 with 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 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 help protect gums and lessen tartar. We believe the most effective products include Oravet treats, t/d treats, Oral wipes, or CET rinses. 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
Pet groomers may claim to "clean" the teeth, but they only use a toothbrush or hand scaler to scrub the teeth. This is ineffective (imagine if you only brushed your teeth once every 6-8 weeks) and can actually be more damaging. Scraping the surface of the tooth can produce an appearance of healthy teeth, but does not address the tartar and bacteria under the gum line, which will result in progression of periodontal disease that is hidden to view.
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!