When was the last time you had your pet’s teeth cleaned? According to the AVMA, pets who have never had a teeth cleaning have signs of dental disease by the time they are three years old. For that reason, Highlands Ranch Animal Hospital recommends that all pets have a yearly dental cleaning and oral examination.
Gum Disease in Dogs and Cats
Dogs and cats are prone to developing the same types of dental diseases and problems as humans, including gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, staining and cavities. The process of dental decay and disease starts every time your pet eats. When your pet eats, food particles get on their teeth and gums. This fuels the bacteria in your pet’s mouth, causing an acid attack on the enamel of their teeth and creating a sticky, clear substance called plaque. If the plaque is left on teeth, it hardens into tartar. When plaque and tartar are left on your pet’s teeth for an extended period of time, it can lead to gingivitis, periodontal disease, cavities and oral infections.
Signs of Dental Disease in Pets
When it comes to detecting potential oral health problems in pets, owners must be vigilant in noticing changes in behavior. This is because pets often do not act like they are in pain until the pain is severe. If you notice any of the signs below, it is important that you contact us to schedule a dental checkup, teeth cleaning and gum disease treatment.
- Broken or Loose Teeth
- Discomfort While Eating
- Extremely bad Breath
- Purulent or Bloody Drool
- Red Gums
- Staining on the Teeth
- Swollen or Inflamed Gums
- Weight Loss or Loss of Appetite
The Hazards of Untreated Periodontal Disease in Pets
Untreated periodontal disease in dogs and cats can lead to dangerous infections, like abscesses and blood infections. Advanced dental disease may also affect your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys. In order to avoid these potentially life-threatening conditions, it is important to keep your pet’s teeth clean with a combination of at-home care and regular veterinary teeth cleanings.
Pet Dental Cleanings
Highlands Ranch Animal Hospital recommends that all dogs and cats receive their first dental checkup shortly after they are weaned and at least once a year for every year of their lives. Pet dental checkups include an examination of your pet’s head, neck, face, ears and mouth in order to check for signs of health problems. Most dental checkups are done at the time of your pet's Annual Exam. On the day of your pet's Dental Cleaning a basic examination is completed prior to anaesthetizing. Once asleep, full oral radiographs will be performed to check for any disease or defects below the gum line or in the pulp cavity. Once complete, the plaque and tartar will be cleaned from your pet’s teeth and below the gum line. Once your pet’s teeth are clean, we can give you tips and tricks to help you remove food particles and plaque at home between professional pet dental cleanings, like pet-safe toothpaste and toothbrushes as well as dental chews.
To learn more about our veterinary dental services and how they can protect the health of your pet, call us at (858) 240-5239 today.