Dental health is an important component of overall well being for cats and dogs. Neglected dental care can lead to pain and discomfort in the oral cavity and, over time, oral bacteria can accumulate and enter the bloodstream, thereby spreading infection to other areas of the body. Prevention of dental disease is key to keep your pet feeling their best.
To keep your pet’s teeth and gums pain-free and disease-free, we recommend that pet parent’s implement the following dental regime:
- Annual Dental Examinations
Dental examinations are performed during routine wellness examinations when the veterinarian visually inspects the teeth and gums. For further diagnostic information, full-mouth dental x-ray radiography can be used to view the teeth, surrounding bones, and tissues of the mouth below the gumline, where the majority of dental disease is found. These x-ray’s can help us find underlying issues we would otherwise not know about.
- Annual Dental Cleanings
We perform our dental cleanings with the help of an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar. Because the machine can be noisy, and we must access the area below the gumline, we will use a general anesthetic to safely perform the procedure. During the cleaning, we will scrape and scale the surface of the teeth, and then polish the teeth to leave a smooth surface, which will discourage future plaque from developing.
- Routine At-home Care
Some pet owners are able to brush their pets’ teeth at home, which we recommend if possible. This will help to keep your pet’s teeth and gums clean between visits, which will also help to lessen the number of professional dental cleanings needed during the pet’s lifetime. It’s best to begin brushing a pet’s teeth at a young ago, so they are less stressed and more tolerable of the process. Many dogs and most cats are not amenable to this form of dental care, but thankfully there are many varieties of treats and toys on the market to help break down plaque and tartar. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation next time you are in the office and they will be happy to help you select one for your pet. Please do not use human dental products on your pet.