Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.
Common signs of dental disease include:
- Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Loose teeth
Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.
Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems are not caught and treated quickly enough, they can cause irreversible damage. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if infection in the mouth has spread.
CLEANING AND POLISHING
Dental cleaning is the act of manually removing the built up plaque and tartar that remains on the teeth and under the gum line after eating. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily as well as water additives helps reduce the buildup, but it is still necessary to go to the dentist and have a professional clean to prevent gum disease just like humans. Polishing your pet’s teeth gets rid of any surface stains on the outer surface of their teeth. Sometimes if there is a tooth that we’re not 100% that it needs to be removed we take a dental radiograph. That will show how the roots look and if it’s a concern for the pet at that time.
Dental extractions is manually removing any visible teeth that are infected, fractured, abscessed, loose or causing the pet discomfort. The gums around the affected tooth is numbed before removing it in either 1 or multiple pieces depending on the roots of the tooth. After 2 weeks we recheck the mouth to make sure the gums are healing well and address any concerns that have arose.
Complicated extractions is removing any non visible (impacted) teeth that will not emerge or fall out on their own. This is done by making an incision in the gums and extracting the tooth in 1 or multiple pieces. In these cases we sometimes take a dental radiograph before or after to make sure all of the roots have been removed and there is nothing left that might be an issue in the future.
ORAL CANCER SURGERIES
Oral melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and fibrosarcoma are common oral tumors in dogs. Squamous Cell Carinoma is the most common oral tumor seen in cats. To remove all of the oral cancer it’s required that margins around the tumor be taken out along with the tumor. Depending on the type of cancer and location of the tumor it often requires removing part or all of the jaw, teeth, and/or surrounding bone. Most often after the tumor is removed it is sent to a specialist to see what type of cancer it is and if all of it was removed during the procedure.
Schedule your pet’s dental exam today!
We can also show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.
For a list of Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approved products please see the link below: