We recommend having your pet’s teeth checked and cleaned at least
ONCE A YEAR.
Dental care is an important and often overlooked factor in keeping your pet healthy and happy. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by three years of age. Consistent home dental care and routine professional examinations can help prevent problems like bad breath or oral infections.
We provide a complete dental service that is commonly overlooked by most owners. Home dental care is where prevention starts, but we understand that is not always practical because our pets may not be “cooperative”.
We do a thorough prophylactic scaling, polishing and fluoride treatment when a dental is deemed necessary by our veterinary staff. We perform dental radiology at the time of the cleaning to identify disease under the gum line to get a complete picture of your pet’s mouth. We perform tooth extractions, gingival closures, and bonding as part of our dental services if needed. Please ask our team about information about dental disease prevention you can take home at any one of your visits.
SIGNS YOUR PET NEEDS DENTAL CARE
There are many different ways to check and see if your pet may be having dental issues, but there are also signs that may not be as visible. This is why veterinarians recommend having your pet’s teeth checked annually. Here are some things to keep an eye (or nose) out for:
Broken, loose, or missing teeth
Discoloration or tartar build up
Excessive chewing or drooling
Reduced appetite or inability to chew
Swelling and bleeding in or around the mouth
Common Pet Dental Care Questions
An often over looked but critical part of your pet’s overall health is dental care. A pet with an unhealthy mouth is an unhealthy pet. Animals with oral disease often have mouth pain and they are more likely to suffer from disease related to mouth bacteria. We know that animals with healthy mouths live an average of two years longer than dogs whose mouths are unhealthy.
You might ask why some dogs have dental disease and some do not. The answer lies in genetics, diet and dental care.
- All pets need yearly mouth exams
- Bad breath is a sign of dental disease or other illness.
- Small dogs tend to have more dental disease than large dogs. Small dogs have the same number of teeth as large dogs, but the teeth have to fit in a smaller space, thus often causing teeth crowding. Small dogs also pant more, which dries up saliva. This is important because saliva helps to protect against dental disease.
- 60% of dental disease occurs below the gum line and can only be identified through probing, cleaning and dental X-rays.
- Ideally pets should have their teeth brushed at least three times a week. If brushing is not possible, safe dental chews or tarter softening agents may be of some help.
- 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease as early as 3 years old.
- Signs of dental disease include pain, excessive drooling, broken or loose teeth, bleeding gums, and dropping food out of the mouth.
- Most of the adult teeth are present about 6 months of age. In small breed dogs we will often see a delay of adult teeth. It may take up to 8 months of age for all adult teeth to come in.
- Misaligned teeth may cause problems.
- Retained baby teeth may need removal. This can be done at the time of spay or neuter.
- It is important to get your pet used to brushing or wiping the teeth at a young age to help prevent future dental problems.
- Tooth loss may be preventable with proper yearly dental cleaning.
- Mouth disease can cause pain and infection and affect a pet’s quality of life.
- Older pets may need more diagnostics prior to a dental to make sure that they are healthy enough for an anesthetic procedure.
- As our pets age, their organ function may change. We need to be aware of these changes so that we can properly prepare our anesthetic protocol to match the needs of the pet.
- An oral exam to determine whether a dental procedure is recommended.
- A comprehensive individual plan which may include dental radiographs
- Blood work is recommended prior to any anesthetic procedure
- General anesthesia is required to do proper full mouth evaluation and X-rays. All our patients receive IV fluids, blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level monitoring throughout procedure
- A dental procedure includes assessment of each tooth and cleaning and polishing. To clean the teeth an ultrasonic tip is used to remove tartar and clean beneath the gum line. In some cases, teeth may require additional treatments such as infusing antibiotics beneath the gum line to help minimize pocket formation. In the event that a tooth cannot be saved, we will complete a planned extraction of that tooth with local nerve blocking to minimize pain and discomfort.
- Dental radiographs are an important tool in the treatment of your pet’s teeth. Without them, dental disease often goes undiagnosed. Here at Little Silver Animal Hospital we have digital radiography to better assess dental disease and decide the course of treatment for our clients.
Non aesthetic dental cleaning
Three times a year we provide a service known as Houndstooth Dental Cleaning that is an express dental cleaning for your pet. Our veterinarians evaluate your pet’s periodontal state and determine if he/she is a candidate. If your pet has a very early or mild form of dental disease, this option may be discussed with you. Top candidates would be:
– minor to mild periodontal disease
– a pet that that has a high anesthetic risk making a full dental an impossibility
– a situation where a more economical and much less time consuming option is needed
The Houndstooth cleaning can be done while you wait and usually takes between 15-30 minutes. This is an invaluable service that addresses early periodontal disease in a quick, non-invasive manner. If a larger dental problem is identified while the teeth are bring cleaned, it can be addressed after the cleaning has been completed.