Did you know that 80% of our pets show signs of periodontal disease by age three? As with people, regular maintenance of your pet’s teeth is an important part of maintaining health and longevity. There are an incredible number of bacteria in your pet’s mouth. Many of these bacteria multiply on the surface of the teeth and form an invisible layer called plaque. Within three days the plaque will progress into tartar as it hardens. The tartar pushes up on the gum and physically causes the gum to recede. The bacteria will then embed under the gingival tissue and cause inflammation and infection. This chronic infection of the gum slowly eats away at the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth resulting in periodontal disease. Another concern, is that the bacteria from the gingival infection will be absorbed into your pet’s bloodstream and can result in bladder, kidney and liver problems.
Most of our pets will need their first professional dental cleaning by the time they are three years of age. We recommend annual oral exams and dental cleanings thereafter to prevent the progression to periodontal disease, which often results in pain and tooth extractions. In addition to prophylactic (professional dental) cleanings, daily homecare plays a vital role in your pet’s overall oral and systemic health. Brushing at least three times a week will dramatically help to slow the progression of dental disease. Your health-care team will discuss other home dental care options that are available. Remember, dental disease is preventable.
At Community Pet Hospital, we do more than just clean your pet’s teeth. All of our dental patients are placed under general anesthesia so that we can do a thorough examination of the teeth and gingiva. Much like your dentist, we probe the teeth, measure the periodontal pockets and take dental x-rays so that we can catch any problems that might affect your pet’s oral comfort. Eighty percent of dental disease hides under the gum line and is invisible to us without x-rays and probing.
Our health-care team believes in preventing problems rather than waiting for them to happen. All of our patients undergoing dental procedures have an intravenous catheter in place so that we can administer anesthetic drugs and fluids easily. Intravenous fluids are vital to maintaining your pet’s blood pressure and protecting their organs while they are sleeping. We constantly monitor our patients’ heart rates, respiration rates, blood pressures and oxygenation levels during every procedure. We know that anesthesia can be intimidating and scary so we do everything possible to make sure that your pet is kept safe. This is what makes us different.
Pain management is also very important to the Community Pet Hospital veterinarians. We use local anesthetic blocks and oral pain medications for any of our patients that need extractions or oral surgery. We all know what it feels like to have a bad day at the dentist and we are committed to making your pet comfortable.
Remember that good oral health is one way to protect your pet from disease and to maintain their quality of life long into their old age. Please ask if you still have questions about how to provide good dental health or if you have worries about the anesthetic process.