Do you brush your pet's teeth? If the answer is no, you're not alone! Many pet owners don't realize that their pets require routine dental care to maintain healthy mouths. Just imagine if you never brushed your teeth! When pets' mouths are left untouched, food debris and bacteria accumulate and harden into plaque. Plaque breaks down the surface of the teeth and gums, which can cause serious pain and even tooth loss. This condition is called periodontal disease, or gum disease, and it is extremely common in adult pets.
Dental disease can be serious, and isn’t always easy to spot by pet owners. That’s why regular dental examinations are so important. However, you can sometimes identify symptoms or warning signs that something is wrong with your pets mouth. These can include:
Our dental examinations for pets are much like the ones humans receive at the dentist. We’ll examine your pet’s mouth, teeth, and gums for signs of plaque or tartar buildup, as well as dental disease. From there we may request additional diagnostics, recommend treatment, or suggest some at-home measures that can help improve your pet’s oral health.
If you notice signs of periodontal disease at home, such as yellow teeth, swollen gums, or bleeding from the mouth, please contact your veterinarian. By examining your pet's mouth, we can determine if it is time for a professional dental cleaning.
Veterinary dental cleanings are performed under anesthesia so that your veterinarian can fully clean under the gumline, where most disease hides. Once all the plaque has been removed, we use ultrasonic scaling and polishing to leave a smooth surface that is more difficult for plaque to adhere to in the future. If your pet's periodontal disease has progressed to the point of loose or cracked teeth, we can perform necessary extractions as well.
Taking care of your pet's teeth at home will help reduce the number of professional cleanings your pet needs, saving you money and trips to the veterinarian. Just like we brush our teeth everyday, pets benefit from regular toothbrushing - its helps remove food debris and bacteria before it can harden into plaque! Your veterinarian can recommend special brushes and toothpaste designed to be safe for your pet, as well as provide tips for training your pet to accept brushing.
Some pets, especially cats, can be resistant to brushing, making it a chore. If brushing your pet's teeth every day is not realistic, brushing once or twice a week will still make a big difference! You can also buy dental diets and treats that help break down plaque while your pet chews. If brushing is difficult, ask your veterinarian what you can do to promote your pet's healthiest mouth.