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What is veterinary dentistry?

What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

To read more from the AVMA about pet dental care, go to: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

Dental Disease…Does Your Pet Have It?

Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats.

 

Most dental disease occurs below the gumline where it is hard to detect.  A yearly exam includes a look inside your pet's mouth to determine the health of their teeth and gums.  When is the last time you had your pet's teeth checked?  February is Pet Dental Health Month which is a great reminder to have your pet's teeth examined!

Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats, affecting 78% of dogs and 68% of cats over the age of three. Although most dogs and cats will develop some sort of dental disease, small dog breeds, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dachshunds and Toy Poodles, are more prone to developing periodontal disease than larger breeds.

If your pet has bad breath, it may mean there is a problem with their teeth and gums. This can also contribute to more severe medical conditions. If dental issues are left untreated, you may put your pet at risk for problems in their mouth (periodontitis) or with internal organs (heart disease). The challenge most pet owners face is that even if their pet’s breath smells fine, some dental issues are hard to spot.

Early preventive measures, such as at-home care and veterinary dental cleanings will help to reduce the frequency and severity of dental disease later in life.  We will perform a comprehensive examination of your pet’s teeth and gums. Just like when you visit your dentist, we have dental tools that remove tartar from below the gum line and smooth the surface of each tooth to prevent tartar buildup.  We also have dental products that can extend the positive benefits of a dental cleaning (foods, tools, and water additives)! 

Keeping your pet healthy from tooth to tail shows them how much you love them. The best way to keep your pet feeling great is to schedule their yearly checkup with us. We’re committed to your pet’s well being every step of the way because we love your pet, too!

Trooper Pet Patient Football Head benefits from a dental cleaning to help keep him healthy!

Trooper Pet Patient Football Head benefits from a dental cleaning to help keep him healthy!

Pet Gum Disease

Periodontal disease starts out as a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria attaches to the teeth. When the bacteria die they can be calcified by calcium in saliva. This forms a hard, rough substance called tartar or calculus, which allows more plaque to accumulate. Initially, plaque is soft and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can dislodge it. If left to spread, plaque can lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the pet’s gums, causing them to become red and swollen and to bleed easily. As plaque and calculus develop below the gum line, professional cleaning will be needed to help manage it. If the plaque and tartar buildup continues unchecked, infection can form around the root of the tooth.
 
In the final stages of periodontal disease, the tissues surrounding the tooth are destroyed, the bony socket holding the tooth in erodes, and the tooth becomes loose. This is a very painful process for your four-legged friend, but these problems can be averted before they start with proper dental care.
 

Causes of pet dental problems

The AVMA shared the below causes of pet dental problems

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

  • broken teeth and roots
  • periodontal disease
  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • broken (fractured) jaw
  • palate defects (such as cleft palate)

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

To learn more, go to: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

Pet Dental

Pet dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health.  Dental problems can cause a host of other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be examined at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth.

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. 

To read more about dog and cat dental care from the AVMA (and to take a quiz on your dental knowledge), go to: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx.


Autumn toothbrush

Autumn urges you to call us today at 610-539-6820 to schedule a dental exam for your pet!

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