The importance of oral health for pets
It’s important to remember that your pet’s dental health is just as important as your own. It would be unheard of to go without brushing your teeth for months or years and never visiting a dentist. Your dog or cat’s oral health should be treated no differently. The tough part is that most dogs and cats are not big fans of allowing us to brush their teeth. Even when they let you, tarter and plaque build-up occurs over time, just like it does with humans – even though we brush our own teeth generally twice a day.
If dental health is ignored, it can result in periodontal disease and potentially other illnesses down the line that stem from poor oral care.
What are some signs that my pet may need a dental exam?
There are symptoms you can look out for that will give you an indication of whether a dental exam or cleaning is in order. Here are a few of the symptoms you may see in pets that have poor oral health:
- bad breath
- gums that bleed
- gums that are discolored
- loose teeth
- broken teeth
- swelling in or around your pet’s mouth
- signs of pain when your pet eats hard food
When should I get a dental exam for my pet?
By the age of three, most dogs and cats have some degree of dental disease, which can cause terminal diseases and significant chronic pain as they age. Brushing may help, but in order to make sure your pet lives a long healthy life, be sure to keep up with their dental health with annual cleanings.
After their first dental cleaning around the age of three, it is recommended that pets have a dental exam every year – which may or may not result in a cleaning depending on their oral health. For senior pets, it is important that your veterinarian checks their dental health as frequently as possible. By keeping up with wellness visits two times per year, your veterinarian will be able to properly monitor the dental health of your senior dog or cat.
How do you clean my pet’s teeth?
If your veterinarian assesses your pet during a dental exam and determines that a cleaning is needed, rest assured that your pet is safe and in good hands. In order to properly clean your pet’s teeth and entire mouth without added stress or pain, we utilize general anesthesia. Once under anesthesia, your veterinarian will be able to thoroughly and safely clean their teeth without causing any pain. In order to fully clean your pet’s mouth, we use a scaler that will scrape plaque and tarter off of teeth and clean any residue near or under your pet’s gum line surrounding each tooth. In some instances, there may be teeth that are broken or fractured, which may require extraction.
Cleanings will typically take around an hour to an hour and a half to complete. If extractions are needed, it could potentially increase this time a bit. We will always be in touch with pet parents before and after dental cleanings to ease your mind that everything is going smoothly. Once your pet is ready to be released, you can come pick them up and we’ll provide post-care instructions and pain medication to keep them comfortable and pain-free.