Dental Care and Your Pet’s Health
Dental disease is one of the most under-recognized health problems affecting pets. Most pet owners notice bad breath, but do not realize that this is usually a sign of periodontal disease. By age 3, most cats and dogs have some degree of periodontal disease. Left untreated, this can lead to mouth pain, tooth loss, and systemic disease. Research has shown that pets with healthy mouths (i.e. receiving routine dental care) live 2-3 years longer than their counterparts without any treatment for dental disease.
At Alpine Animal Hospital, we believe that dental care for your pet should be an integral part of keeping your pet healthy. From discussing ways to provide home dental care, to preventive dental cleanings and oral treatment plans, we can help you keep your pet’s mouth in great condition.
In-Home Dental Cleaning
Home dental care starts with conditioning your pet to accept handling of the mouth and brushing the teeth. Daily tooth brushing is best. Other options for home dental care include dental chews and treats. When visible plaque is present on the teeth, professional dental cleaning is recommended.
Anesthetic Dental Cleaning
Dentistry for pets, unlike people, is a procedure done with general anesthesia. It is important to clean the entire surface of every tooth, including the surfaces below the gum line. Anesthesia is necessary to perform a thorough dental cleaning and dental x-rays, which in turn allow a thorough oral health assessment and treatment plan to be developed. Several aspects are evaluated in the evaluation of your pet’s teeth and gums during professional dentistry:
- Health of the gum tissue – inflammation (gingivitis), gum recession, gingival hyperplasia, and gingival growths may be present. Inflammation is often improved simply by performing a professional teeth cleaning and periodontal treatment when indicated. Gingival growths are ideally radiographed and removed for biopsy.
- Periodontal disease – loss of supportive structures around the tooth, encompassing gum recession and loss of bone around the tooth root. Oftentimes furcations (space between the tooth roots) can be seen in moderate to severe cases of periodontal disease due to bone loss. In cases of mild periodontal disease, thorough teeth cleaning and periodontal treatment can be done to save the teeth. In severe cases, extractions are often needed.
- Disorders of the teeth – fractures, resorptive lesions, and dental caries can all cause oral pain that may be obvious to many pet owners. Fractured teeth may be treated with extractions or root canal therapy. Resorptive lesions and dental caries often require extraction of teeth.
At Alpine Animal Hospital your pet’s dental health is our priority. Together, we can help your pet live a longer, healthier and happier life. The first step is to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors. At this consultation, we will perform any pre-operative testing needed, review what to expect for your pet, and what alternative options may be available.