Dental Care for Your Pet
All of our lives, we have been taught the necessity of good oral hygiene and proper dental care. Not only is this important for people, but for our pets as well. Dental problems in dogs and cats can lead to serious health problems. Routine dental care plays an important role in maintaining your pet’s overall health.
Tips for Pet Dental Care
Caring for your pet's teeth isn't any different than caring for your own. You wouldn't rely on a chew toy or a bone to keep your teeth clean. So, why do we do that for our pets? There are many quality pet brushes available to brush your pet's teeth at home (soft bristled children's brushes are also fine to use on pets). A good tip is to start brushing your pet's teeth when they're young, so they are familiar with it as a normal routine.
Schedule an appointment today to have your pet's teeth professionally cleaned. Don't forget: Good oral health can lead to great overall health.
At Affordable Animal Hospital Silver Lake, we provide dental checkups and a full range of dental care services for cats and dogs. We are here to help you keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy and avoid dental problems that could lead to serious health issues in the future.
Symptoms of Dental Problems
Your pet should have a dental checkup at least once a year to maintain healthy teeth and for early detection of oral health problems. If you notice the following symptoms, bring your pet in sooner:
- Broken or loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Tartar or discoloration
- Swelling in areas around the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Abnormal chewing
- Dropping food from the mouth
- Refusal to eat or reduced appetite
- Pain in or around the mouth
Veterinary Dental Care
Pet dentistry is performed under anesthesia, because your pet does not understand the purpose and is likely to react by squirming and moving around, attempting to escape, or even biting. Anesthesia makes it possible for the procedure to be performed with no pain and stress for your pet.
The first step is an oral exam. X-rays may also be needed to evaluate the condition of your pet’s teeth below the gumline and the condition of the jaw.
In pet dental cleaning, plaque and tartar are removed and the teeth are polished, in a process similar to human dental cleaning. Our doctors can extract, repair, adjust, or file your pet’s teeth when necessary and address any other oral health issues.
Teeth Cleaning Before and After
Bad Teeth Can Lead to Pet Health Problems
Neglecting your pet’s dental health can create the potential for other health problems. Bacteria that proliferate during the course of gum disease can spread through the blood and, over time, may harm your cat or dog’s heart, kidney or liver.
By being vigilant, you are taking a significant step toward lengthening your pet’s life.
Ensuring a Thorough Cleaning
Your pet can’t understand what’s going on when the veterinarian begins to put dental instruments in its mouth. You might be willing to sit still while a hygienist does their work, but you could never expect a dog or cat to do the same.
Your veterinarian can only do their job if your pet has been put under general anesthesia. You pet won’t feel pain during the cleaning and there will be no resistance to what needs to be done to fully inspect and clean its teeth.
While under anesthesia, your pet will have a tube in its throat to support breathing. This will also prevent it from inhaling any bacteria that are released into the air during the cleaning.
What a Professional Cleaning Includes
A professional tooth cleaning for your cat or dog involves a number of things:
- • Removing visible tartar and plaque
- • Cleaning out any tartar and plaque that is found under the gum
- • Looking in your pet’s dental sockets for signs of disease
- • Gently polishing your pet’s teeth to remove scratches, to help prevent future accumulation of bacteria
- • Taking x-rays to determine whether there are unseen dental issues below the gum line
- • Applying a sealer on the surfaces of the teeth
- • If necessary, removing or repairing infected or fractured teeth requiring immediate attention
- • Inspecting the mouth, tongue and lips of your pet
In the same way that your dentist does, the veterinarian will create a chart of your pet's mouth, recording what was found during the cleaning and examination. This will be used as an ongoing record of your pet’s dental health and a guide to future care.
To make sure that you sustain the benefits of a cleaning as long as possible, it’s a smart idea to implement a regimen of home care. This may be especially important if your veterinarian’s examination indicates that your pet is at risk for future problems.
Here are some of the actions you can take at home to help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy:
- • Brush your pet’s teeth daily with a child’s toothbrush, or with a finger brush supplied by your veterinarian. You can use pet toothpaste, which comes in flavors such as chicken and seafood.
- • Provide your pet with treats and food that can help prevent the formation of plaque. The staff at Silver Lake Affordable Animal Care Hospital are knowledgeable regarding the best products that are available.
- • Use rinses and oral sprays to reduce the number of potentially harmful bacteria in your cat or dog’s mouth.
- • Give your pet a raw bone once a week. Chewing on this is not just pleasurable for your pet, it helps to keep its teeth clean. However, you’ll need to pay attention while your pet works on the bone and be sure to take it away if a large piece becomes small enough for them to swallow.
Removing Pet Teeth Requires Skill
The teeth of carnivores such as dogs and cats are designed for different uses than our teeth. They are for cutting, not for chewing.
The roots of their teeth go deep into surrounding bone, so that they are able to grab and tear with the necessary force and strength. Because of this, it’s actually more difficult to extract the tooth of a cat or dog than to extract the tooth of a human.
You’ve entered into the world of dental hygiene in order to improve your pet’s quality of life, and the last thing you want is for an extraction to be performed in a manner that leaves your pet in more pain.
The veterinarians at Affordable Animal Care Hospital in Silver Lake can provide these services to the highest standard, resolving chronic dental issues and reducing the chance of new ones.
Pet Tooth Extraction
The roots of your pet’s teeth can be close to blood vessels, nerves, the eye and the nasal cavity. As is the case with cleaning, your pet will be under anesthesia during an extraction.
After a tooth is extracted, the “socket” that remains is surgically closed. This will reduce the pain your pet experiences and it will also help healing progress more quickly.
After an extraction, your pet should be able to eat as normal. The “grab and gulp” approach to eating that is characteristic of carnivores does not involve much chewing, or consistent pressure against the gums.