Pet Dental Months are Back!

Pet Dental Months are Back

Pet Dental Months are Back

Dental health is vital for the overall health and quality of life of our pets. A diseased or painful mouth can prevent your pet from enjoying daily activities, reduce their appetite, and even lead to more serious health conditions. The good news is, most dental disease is preventable with regular, at-home maintenance and professional dental cleanings.

Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians; approximately two-thirds of dogs and cats over the age of three have some form of periodontal or dental disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a term used to describe inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. Accumulation of tartar and calculus on the teeth causes gum recession around the base of the tooth. Infection soon follows and the gums recede further, exposing sensitive unprotected root surfaces and the bony tooth sockets Left untreated, the infection spreads deep into the tooth socket, destroying the bone. Ultimately, the tooth loosens and falls out.

What can I do to help prevent dental disease?

The best way prevent dental disease is to keep the mouth as hygienic as possible and to reduce the rate at which tartar builds up on the teeth. Recent advances in pet nutrition have resulted in diets that reduce tartar accumulation. Your veterinarian can give you specific dietary recommendations that will benefit your pet’s oral health. However, the most effective way of reducing plaque and tartar is to brush the teeth. A number of toothbrushes and toothpastes are specially designed for your pats mouth. 

Never use human toothpaste on animals as these are foaming products and contain ingredients that should not be swallowed and could cause internal problems. Numerous pet toothpastes that are non-foaming and safe to be swallowed are available in flavors that are appealing to cats and dogs.

With gentleness, patience, and perseverance it is possible to brush your pet’s teeth!

In addition, or as an alternative to brushing, a range of antibacterial mouthwashes and gels can be applied to the teeth and mouth to reduce the number of bacteria present. Please ask your veterinarian for further details regarding the recommended dental products for your pet.

Genetics and breed dispositions have a role in how quickly periodontal disease progresses, and every pet is different! This is the reason why some pets can go years without having a dental work done, whereas others potentially require cleaning and care each year.

What are some of the Signs of Dental Disease?

Your pet may show a decreased interest in food or approach the food bowl and then show a reluctance to eat. They may chew with obvious discomfort, drop food from their mouth, or swallow with difficulty. They might drool excessively, and the saliva may contain blood. Halitosis, or an unpleasant breath odor is a very common and telling sign. In some cases, some pets may paw at their mouths or shake their heads. A reluctance to eat may lead to weight loss, which can become quite marked. Many pets will refuse dry food and demonstrate a preference for moistened or canned foods.

 Dental disease and oral pain may account for the “finicky appetites” that some cats display.

What is involved with a routine dental cleaning?

A routine dental cleaning involves a thorough dental examination and oral radiographs done under general anesthetic. Once your pet has been anesthetized, your veterinarian will thoroughly examine the mouth, noting the alignment of the teeth, and the extent of tartar accumulation both above and below the gumline. This stage is done under anesthesia, allowing the doctor a thorough understanding of the condition of your pets’ mouth; cats and dogs are understandably intolerant of such an in depth examination while they are awake. Following the examination, a dental scaling and polishing will be performed, to remove tartar and invisible plaque from all tooth surfaces. Next, tooth scaling will be performed using both traditional hand scalers, and ultrasonic cleaning equipment to remove all traces of tartar, both above and below the gum line. The tartar below the gum line causes the most significant gum recession and it is extremely important that it is removed thoroughly. If periodontal disease is severe, it may not be possible to save badly affected teeth, which may need to be extracted. After scaling, the teeth are polished to remove microscopic scratches in order to help prevent subsequent plaque build-up. Special applications such as fluoride, antibiotic preparations, and cleaning compounds may be indicated to decrease tooth sensitivity, strengthen enamel, treat bacterial infection, and reduce future plaque accumulation.

Prior to the dentistry, your veterinarian will perform a pre-anesthetic blood tests to ensure that kidney and liver function are satisfactory for anesthesia. Sometimes antibiotic treatment is started before the periodontal therapy is performed but your veterinarian will discuss the specific pre-dental recommendations for your pet during the visits leading up to their dental cleaning. 

Book a Dental Check-up now

For the months of February and March, Parkdale Animal Hospital will offer a complimentary oral exam to all pets when booked in for an appointment. If your pet is up to date on their annual check ups and vaccines book your complimentary dental check up now without a physical exam. We will also apply a 20% discount to the cost of the dental cleaning to help offset the expense and get your furry family member smiling again!

We want to help you give your pet the best possible care.  Call us at 416-532-1169 to book a free dental assessment, or schedule your pet’s dental cleaning.