Dental Care for Your Pet:
We all appreciate the importance of dental hygiene in maintaining the health of our teeth and gums. Your dog or cat is no different and needs regular brushing to avoid gum disease. Professional dental cleaning along with brushing will help prevent the development of one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats: periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is started by bacteria present in plaque which attack the gums, bone and ligaments that support the teeth and hold them in the jaw. It is a painful and progressive disease which starts out as gingivitis, an infection affecting the gum tissue. This will appear as a thin red line and sometimes swelling at the edge of the gum. At this point the disease is still reversible. However, if the disease is not treated, it progresses to the moderate stage. Moderate disease is characterized by damage to gums, bone and other structures that support the teeth. The appearance at this stage includes red, swollen gums which bleed easily. There may be mild gum recession causing exposure of the roots of the teeth. Advanced periodontal disease results in severe gum recession with the loss of supporting bone and subsequent loss of teeth. A further complication of periodontal disease is that the bacteria involved in causing the disease enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body (kidneys, liver, heart) causing secondary infection.
The first step in preventing periodontal disease is to maintaining good oral health for your dog or cat at home. There is no substitute for brushingyour pet’s teeth every day. Brushing helps to remove plaque before it becomes mineralized into tartar. Most dogs and cats can be introduced to brushing easily. Be sure to use toothpaste safe for pets such as the C.E.T. brand (for instructions on brushing your pet’s teeth see the NEW PET HANDOUT). C.E.T chews and Greenies can be given at home to slow the rate of tartar accumulation. These measures will help control the build-up of plaque and harmful bacteria.
While brushing is the major part in the maintenance of good oral health, it is still necessary to have your pet’s teeth cleaned and polished on a regular basis by your veterinarian. This allows the gums and supporting structures to return to a healthier state. We will ask you to begin antibiotics 3 days prior to the dentistry to avoid infection in the event that bacteria are released from the teeth into the bloodstream during the procedure. After the cleaning, use of dental sealants helps to slow tartar accumulation. The frequency that cleanings are needed depends on the severity of dental disease
Depending on the severity of periodontal disease, we may recommend dental x-rays. These allow us to determine the extent of disease and to make the best decisions about treatment for your pet.
Sometimes broken, abscessed, loose or discolored teeth are found upon close inspection during the dental procedure. Cat’s may develop painful erosive lesions on their teeth at the gumline and or tooth roots. We offer a range of options to treat diseased teeth including: periodontal treatments, restorations, extractions, and root canals.
Remember, the early stages of dental disease are more easily treated than the advanced stages, with better long term results.
Follow these tips for good oral hygiene:
• Feed at least some hard food, which will provide a cleaning action. Prescription Diet t/d® is available for both dogs and cats and can be used as a treat every day. Hard food is also encouraged to help remove early soft plaque accumulation, but will not prevent the problem alone, no more than if you were to stop brushing your teeth and simply eat a piece of hard candy each day.
• Have teeth examined at least once every year for tartar buildup. Pets vary considerably in the amount of tartar that accumulates. Have a dental prophy procedure performed when recommended by your veterinarian.
• Use a pet dentifrice on a regular basis. We will be happy to recommend what is best for your pet.
GRADE YOUR PET’S TEETH USING THE BELOW PICTURES FOR COMPARISON:
Grade 1: Plaque accumulates at the gumline and there may be slight redness’ and bad breath.
Grade 2: Calculus forms at the gumline, and there is redness and swelling.
Grade 3: Same as above + gum begins to separate from the tooth. The veterinarian will use a dental probe to determine the depth of the separation. Mouth ulcers may be forming. Pus and bleeding may be present.
Grade 4: There is major loss of attachment between the gum and tooth.
The teeth may be loose. Pus and bleeding may be present.
The mouth odor is extremely foul.
HOME DENTAL CARE OPTIONS INCLUDE:
C.E.T Chews® are available for both dogs and cats.
C.E.T. Pet Toothpaste Kits® are available in numerous flavors. We keep samples in our exam rooms, should you need help choosing the flavor your pet will tolerate the best. Human toothpaste should not be used since it can be toxic if swallowed by the pet. Don’t worry about the tongue side of the teeth, the roughness of the pet’s tongue will usually do an adequate cleaning job there. Most pets will accept a toothbrush if time is taken for the pet to get accustomed to it.
SCIENCE DIET T/D is available for cats and dogs. We recommend this diet be used as treats for your pet.
Preventive dental health will help save your pet’s teeth, help avoid stress related problems caused by pain, and provide protection from liver, kidney, and heart disease which are the major killers of older pets. Proper dental care at home is the most significant factor in preventing painful damage to your pet’s teeth. Regular dental examinations by your veterinarian can result in early diagnosis and timely treatment of most dental problems.
Our staff is professionally trained to clean, scale, and polish your pet’s teeth. We will examine your pet’s mouth and then make the appropriate recommendations for therapy.
Good dental health for your pet is up to you!