Dental hygiene is a very important part of a pet’s health. Dental disease can be linked to other serious health issues such as heart and kidney disease. How do you know if your pet has a healthy mouth or if it may need treatment? Bad breath or foul odor coming from your pet’s mouth is usually a big indicator that something is going on. Another sign that your pet needs oral attention is discoloration. This may mean diseased teeth or significant calculus/tartar build up. If you aren’t sure, it is best to have us take a look at your pet. Having your pet in for yearly examinations will help us track their oral health status.
Keeping Your Pet’s Smile Healthy
There are several things that you can do to help ensure that your pet has good dental and oral health. Brushing teeth is one of the top active ways to help aid in reduction of dental disease and further complications. A dog toothbrush will have a long handle, an angled head to accommodate the mouth, and extra soft bristles. For dogs or cats less than 30 pounds, a finger toothbrush or smaller brush works well. The next step is finding an appropriate toothpaste. We cannot use human toothpaste on our furry friends so it is important to find a pet safe option. The best pet toothpastes contain enzymes that help control plaque. There are also veterinary specific wipes that can be used on teeth. Some passive ways of helping reduce build up are dental diets, CET or dental chews, or rinses/additives to water. Despite best efforts to reduce plaque/calculus, dental cleanings are still often indicated.
The Veterinary Oral Health Council is a great resource for product recommendations. They have options for both dogs and cats.
Dental Prophylaxis and Oral Surgery
Routine dental cleaning and oral exams are recommended in dogs and cats due to the possibility of oral disease and bad teeth. We offer full dental cleanings and oral surgery to allow our patients to enjoy a happy and fuller life. General anesthesia is required for proper dental cleanings and surgery. While under anesthesia, pets get full dental radiographs, ultrasonic/hand scaling, and polishing. We take the utmost care to ensure the safety of our patients during these procedures.
Pictured below are dental radiographs of common abnormalities we see with pet teeth (large pockets or bone loss at the roots of the teeth.) Without the help of dental radiographs, we would not be able to see or detect these issues easily as this part of the tooth is under the gum line and not easily visible.