The dental health of your pet is extremely important and is easily overlooked. Dental disease can affect your pet’s kidneys, heart, and be a source of chronic infection. Our furry family members cannot tell us if their mouth hurts and many will still eat even when significant dental disease is present. This is why it is important to have a yearly health exam for your pet in order for a veterinarian to properly examine their teeth and mouth. A strong odor coming from your pet’s mouth is a sign of infection and dental disease. In fact, dental disease (along with obesity) is the most common ailment in the dog and cat. Proper home dental care through brushing, chews, and diet are important to keeping your pet healthy. Our veterinarians can help you determine what prevention is right for you and your pet.
Along with being doctors, veterinarians are also your pet’s dentist. As with us, home dental care is just a part of keeping a healthy mouth. Professional dental cleanings are another important aspect. During your pet’s health care exams, our veterinarians will determine if a professional cleaning is needed. Some pets require a professional cleaning only a few times in their lives, others need one every single year. Breed, diet, and home dental care will determine how frequently your pet should have a dental prophylaxis.
A dental cleaning or “prophy” is different from just brushing with paste. It includes a full examination of the oral cavity and tongue, an ultrasonic scaling of the teeth to remove tarter and plaque, a polishing of the teeth, and fluoride treatment to reduce sensitivity. The scaling of the teeth also includes removing plaque and tarter from below the gumline where you can’t see. As you can imagine, this cannot be properly performed in most pets while they are awake. Many pets have too much tarter and gum pain to properly scale their teeth painlessly. Also, a full oral examination is difficult in an awake animal. Any abnormalities that are found during their dental cleaning will be discussed fully with you as well as the options available to treat them. We will determine if your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia and monitor them closely during their cleaning. If you have any concerns about the safety of anesthesia, our doctors will be happy to discuss any questions you may have. Not only will your pet’s mouth be fresh smelling it will also be healthy!