Did you know bad breath could be a sign of more than just serious dental problems for your pet? It could indicate serious health issues including heart, kidney, and/or lung disease for your pet. At NOVA Pet Health Center, we know that controlling bad breath is just the start to proper pet dental care. Poor dental care can cause your pet to develop gingivitis; which, if left untreated can lead to periodontal disease which causes your pets teeth to fall out. Regular dental exams and cleanings can prevent dental diseases and also protect your pet against serious heart, kidney and lung conditions.
NPHC offers preventative and corrective dental care for dogs and cats including oral examinations, routine cleanings, and tooth extractions. During an oral exam, our veterinarian will check for any signs of oral diseases such as plaque buildup, periodontal disease, tumors, etc. While the basic dental examination can be done while your pet is awake, anesthesia is required to perform a dental cleaning procedure.
We know how nerve wracking the thought of anesthesia can be for pet owners. Prior to administering anesthetics treatments, our veterinary team will perform a full pre-examination and diagnostic test in order to customize the anesthetic procedure to fit the needs of each pet-patient.
Would you let years go by between visits to the dentist? Probably not. Your pet’s dental health is just as important to his or her overall health as your dental health is to your general health.
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Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats. Over 68% of all pets over the age of three have some form of dental disease. Most pets will show few signs of dental disease so it is up to the pet’s family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.
Common signs of oral disease include:
– Tartar buildup
– Red and swollen gums
– Bad breath
– Changes in eating or chewing habits
– Pawing at the face
– Generalized depression
Dental disease doesn’t affect just the mouth. It can lead to more serious health problems including heart, lung, and kidney disease. This makes it all the more important to provide your pets with proper dental care from the start.
NOVA Pets Health Center recommends annual dental examinations because debris from food and bacteria accumulates around your pet’s teeth overtime; and, if left unchecked, will cause the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth to deteriorate and results in periodontal disease which is irreversible and lead to tooth loss. Our seasoned veterinary team is happy to educate you on proper at home oral care for your pet.
The most common dental problems seen in dogs are caused by periodontal disease. It is estimated that over 68% of dogs over three years old suffer from some degree of periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is a term used to describe inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. Accumulation of tartar on the teeth contribute to gum recession around the base of the tooth. Infection soon follows and the gums recede, exposing sensitive unprotected tooth surfaces. If left untreated, the infection will spread into the tooth socket and ultimately causes the tooth loss.
The mouth of all mammals is home to thousands of bacteria. Many of these bacteria will breed on the surfaces of the tooth and form an invisible layer called plaque or biofilm. Some of this is removed naturally by the dog’s tongue and chewing habits but if allowed to remain on the tooth’s surface, the plaque thickens, becomes mineralized, and then forms into tartar.
Tarter presses on the gums, which recede, causing inflammation and an infection called gingivitis. The gums continue to recede until the tooth socket is infected and the tooth is lost.
As the oral infection increases, tonsillitis can also occur. Additionally, the bacteria is absorbed into the blood stream and can be carried to other organs. Heart valve infections, kidney, and liver problems are frequently caused by what many pet owners diagnose as simply “bad teeth.”
Now-a-days, there are many products designed to reduce tartar in our dogs. Special canine chew toys as well as feeding specifically-formulated dental diets may help reduce tartar build up. Regular home care such as brushing your pet’s teeth regularly can also help.
Once tartar has formed, it will be necessary to remove it by professional scaling and polishing. This process requires anesthesia in order to properly and safely examine and clean the teeth.
The goal of dental scaling and polishing is to remove tartar and invisible plaque. At NPHC, our veterinarian will perform pre-anesthetic blood tests to ensure that your pet’s health is satisfactory for anesthesia and go over the specific pre-dental recommendations for your pet.
Tooth scaling will be performed using both hand scalers and ultrasonic cleaning equipment to remove the tartar both above and below the gum line. The tartar beneath the gum line causes the most significant gum recession. The teeth are then polished in order to help prevent subsequent plaque build-up. It may be necessary to carry out other procedures such as extractions at the same time. Special applications such as fluoride, antibiotic preparations and cleaning compounds may be indicated to decrease tooth sensitivity, strengthen enamel, and reduce plaque accumulation and bacterial infection.
These procedures will be fully discussed before your pet’s dental cleaning. Since it can be difficult to predict the extent of dental disease prior to the procedure, it is imperative that your veterinarian is able to reach you during the procedure to discuss any additional treatment that may be necessary.
After cleaning and polishing the teeth, our veterinarian will thoroughly examine each and every tooth for signs of dental disease. Some signs indicating dental disease include:
– Gum Loss
– Root Exposure
– Pockets Around the Root
If extensive dental disease is found, the affected teeth will need to be extracted. Our veterinarian and his veterinary team have extensive training and experience in conduction tooth extractions properly and safely. To ensure your pet remains comfortable and as pain-free as possible after a tooth extracting procedure, they will be sent home with oral pain medications.
Even if your pet has to have multiple teeth extracted, the recovery time is relatively quick and are able to resume regular eating habits as soon as the gums have completely healed.
Plaque and tartar begin forming in as little as six hours after your pet’s dental cleaning. A home pet dental care program is a must for all pets. Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed instructions on how to brush or rinse your pet’s teeth.
Brush your pet’s teeth 1-2 times per-day. Do not use human toothpaste.
– Use oral hygiene rinses for pets who refuse to allow their teeth to be brushed. Used once daily, these rinses will kill bacteria in the mouth for 24 hours and help prevent the formation of plaque and tartar.
– Treated rawhides and kitty treats are one of the easiest options to will help to ward off bacteria and prevent formation of plaque and tartar. These treats also help with removal of some oral debris.
– Prescription diets are available that are designed to help decrease the amount of bacteria in the mouth and also to physically remove oral debris.
Increase your pet’s chance for living a long and healthy life and make a dental care appointment today online or call NOVA Pets Health Center at 703-378-9791.