Proper dental hygiene is a very important part of your pet’s overall health.
The importance of dentistry
As in humans, poor dental hygiene can often cause pain and/or serious illness. The most common dental condition affecting domestic dogs and cats is periodontal disease, an infection and inflammation of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth. It is estimated that more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will develop tooth and gum disease by the age of 3 years. If untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth and gum loss, severe pain, which often leads to a loss of appetite and weight, and even damage to the heart, kidneys, and liver.
Periodontal disease is classified under two categories: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue, which results in redness, swelling, and discomfort. With regular dental visits, gingivitis can be reversed before it becomes the more severe periodontitis. Periodontitis is a condition that can be controlled but may never be totally cured. Severe gum inflammation/recession and alveolar (the bone that holds the teeth in place) bone loss are all characteristics of periodontitis.
Veterinary dentistry differs from human dentistry in that all procedures necessitate the use of general anesthesia. As a result, patients will stay at the hospital for the day until they fully recover from its effects. A routine dental procedure includes sub-gingival (below the gum-line) cleaning and ultrasonic scaling to remove plaque and tartar buildup. The veterinarian will also do an overall assessment of your pet’s mouth while they are under anesthesia, checking gum condition and looking for loose and/or broken teeth.
Dental care does not end once your pet returns home from the veterinarian. We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth at least weekly to maintain good oral health. Upon discharge from the hospital, a veterinary technician will instruct you on the proper method, as well as provide you with a dental “goodie bag” to take home.