Importance of Pet Dental Health

Importance of Pet Dental Health

What is the importance of pet dental health?
Every day plaque is deposited on the teeth. If teeth are not brushed daily, bacteria build-up can cause inflammation resulting in bad breath, loss of bone support, formation of pockets, root exposures and ultimately, loss of teeth.

How can you prevent dental disease?
By the age of 3, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will have some form of dental disease. Prevention is the key!
An important way to prevent dental disease is regular home dental care. Daily brushing can help remove plaque before it turns into tartar.

We recommend starting brushing as puppies and kittens with massaging the teeth/gums daily and then moving on to a tooth brush once the adult teeth have arrived at approximately 6 months of age.

There are several dental diets and treats that can help reduce plaque and tartar build-up. These diets tend to have larger kibbles to provide abrasive action against the tooth surface when chewed, or they may include ingredients to inhibit tartar formation. Ask us which dental diets and treats are best for your pet.

What is Periodontal Gum Disease?
Periodontal gum disease is an infection resulting from a build-up of plaque on the surfaces of the teeth around the gums. The bacteria in dental plaque irritate the gum tissue, leading to infection in the bone surrounding the teeth.

What is involved in a Dental Cleaning?
All dental procedures are performed under complete general anesthesia!

  • Pre-surgical examination ensures your pet is healthy to go under anesthetic.
  • Pre-anesthetic blood testing is preformed to ensure that your pet can properly process and eliminate anesthetic agents. These tests confirm that your pet’s organs are functioning properly, and can reveal hidden health concerns that could put your pet at risk.
  • An intravenous catheter is placed to maintain access to a vein during the procedure in case of complications. It also allows us to administer fluids to maintain blood pressure (anesthesia can lower blood pressure) and help flush any harmful bacteria out of the blood stream.
  • Pre-anesthesia medication is administered to relieve anxiety and decrease pain, making the complete anesthetic experience as smooth and comfortable as possible.
  • Dental/oral examination. We pass a probe around each tooth to evaluate the disease below the gum line and take note of any abnormalities within the oral cavity itself.
  • Digital dental x-rays evaluate the root and ligaments of the tooth below the gum line, because we can only visibly see 1/3 to 1/2 of the tooth.
  • If tooth extractions are required the mouth is blocked (frozen) to decrease post dental pain. Locations where teeth will be extracted are cleaned and prepared for removal; this includes making flaps of gum tissue to be sutured over the site of removal to reduce the chance of infection and pain associated with the formation of a dry socket.
  • Scaling of the teeth to remove tartar and plaque is performed with both electronic scalers and hand scalers. A curette is used below the gum line to remove the most harmful plaque and tartar deposits. This plaque and tartar is the cause of periodontal gum disease and tooth loss.
  • Polishing of the teeth smoothes the surface and decreases the adhesive ability of plaque post dental.
  • Each pet receives antibiotics by intravenous administration. Antibiotics, pain medications and anti-inflammatories are dispensed for home use based on severity of the pet’s dental disease and the procedures the pet required.
  • Ten days after the dental procedure a complimentary dental assessment is performed. At this time we assess the healing of the gums and oral cavity and demonstrate how to brush the teeth. We also provide samples of foods and treats that in combination with brushing will help to decrease the development of plaque causing dental disease.
  • At three and six months after the procedure we follow up with a complimentary appointment to ensure the prevention plan we have given you is working. If not, we will make changes appropriately.

Visit our Facebook page or call 403-272-3573 for more information on how to brush your pet’s teeth and for more information about periodontal disease!

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