Dental disease (also known as periodontal disease) refers to infection and inflammation in the mouth, resulting from the buildup of plaque and tartar. Affecting 80% of all dogs and 70% of all cats over the age of three, periodontal disease is the most common illness amongst dogs and cats. When left untreated, this prevalent disease leads to serious health concerns for your pet, including severe pain and internal organ malfunction.
In this article you will learn how to prevent, recognize and treat dental disease in your pets.
Keep reading to...
1. Discover symptoms of pet dental disease
2. Find out how to prevent and treat pet dental disease
3. Understand the consequences of leaving pet dental disease untreated
4. Learn about what makes a quality pet dental cleaning
5. Have the opportunity to schedule your pet a dental consultation
How to Know If Your Pet Is Suffering From Dental Disease
Early detection is key is minimizing the pain, discomfort and health implications associated with pet dental disease. Monitor your pet regularly for any of the below symptoms and act fast if any are noted.
Signs and Symptoms of Pet Dental Disease
Dropping food while trying to eat
Refusal to eat
Discoloration of teeth, usually gray/brown in color
Inflamed, red gums
Resistant to having their face touched
Swelling around the mouth
Swelling around the eyes
Cracked or fractured teeth
Pulp (nerve) exposure, which presents as a red circle in the center of the tooth
None! Unfortunately pet dental disease is often asymptomatic, meaning there are no signs at all, even when severe disease is present. Dental disease often occurs out of sight beneath the gum line, requiring the use of x-ray to detect
What are the consequences of an unhealthy pet mouth? Periodontal (dental) disease can have serious health implications for your pet, pain and discomfort being among the most prevalent side effects. The infection associated with dental disease leads to erosion in the mouth, exposing sensitive tissues such as nerve endings, making it extremely uncomfortable for our pets to eat and use their mouths for important activities such as play. If you've ever had a toothache, you can relate to this level of pain. In addition to pain, the infection associated with periodontal disease can cause damage to vital internal organs, such as the heart and kidneys. This damage to internal organs starts on a microscopic level and is difficult to detect until it is severe and in advanced, often irreversible, stages.
Treating and Preventing Dental Disease in Our Pets
Pet Dental Cleanings
Scheduling your pet regular dental cleanings is the single best way to protect your pet from the unfortunate ramifications of dental disease. Adult dogs and cats should receive yearly dental cleanings to remove corrosive plaque and tartar buildup that cause dental disease.
Components of a Quality Pet Dental Cleaning
Performed at a veterinary hospital
Performed under full sedation (general anesthesia)
Full-mouth radiographs are performed
Extractions are discussed and are available if necessary
Quality dental cleanings are intricate, take time and require the patient to be completely still, so should always be performed under full sedation (general anesthesia). Using anesthesia for pet dental cleanings lends to a stress-free and complete cleaning, whereas awake cleanings cause unnecessary stress for your pet and yield incomplete results. In addition to full sedation, radiographs (x-rays) should always be taken at the start of your pet's dental cleaning. Dental disease is often located beneath the gum line and therefor cannot be detected without the use of x-ray technology. Dental x-rays allow for each tooth to be evaluated at the root level, providing a truly comprehensive evaluation of your pet's oral health. Often x-rays indicate that the extraction of a particular tooth is recommended, due to the severity of the dental disease hiding beneath it. The removal of unhealthy teeth allows for infections to be treated, healing to take place and discomfort to be alleviated.
Pet Dental Cleanings at Fire Mountain Veterinary Hospital
At Fire Mountain Vet, every dental procedure we perform checks all the boxes of a quality pet dental cleaning. We perform all of our dental procedures under full sedation, with an individualized anesthesia protocol tailored to each patient's unique health needs. We start every dental procedure with full-mouth digital dental radiographs (x-rays), evaluating the health of each individual tooth at the root level, to ensure we have a comprehensive understanding of your pet's oral health. If any tooth extractions are indicated, our team of skilled veterinary professionals who have extensive training will perform the necessary extractions.
At-Home Pet Oral Health Care
In addition to dental cleanings, there are several preventative measures you're able to take at home that contribute to a healthy mouth for your pet!
Steps to Preventing Pet Dental Disease
Daily Teeth Brushing
Using only pet-specific toothpaste, which can be found here
Use Verified Oral Health Products
Look for the 'seal of approval' from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)
Click here for a list of VOHC approved dental products for dogs and cats
Avoid Feeding Hard Bones and Toys
If it cannot be easily broken in half, it's too hard!
Replace hard chews with long-lasting, lick-based enrichment items like a kong or lick mat
Feed Dental-Specific Food
Veterinary diets like Hills Dental Care promote dental health
We are passionate about supporting pet parents in understanding and preventing pet dental disease in and would love to answer your questions, examine your pet and set your pet on the path towards a pain-free mouth!
Looking for pet dentistry in Oceanside, California? You've found it!