When was the last time you had your pet’s teeth cleaned? According to the AVMA, pets who have never had a teeth cleaning develop signs of dental disease by the time they are three years old. For that reason, Elkridge Animal Hospital recommends that all pets have an oral examination and yearly dental cleaning.
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 an exam so that we may recommend any necessary treatments.
- Broken or Loose Teeth
- Discomfort While Eating
- Extremely Bad Breath
- Bloody Drool
- Staining on the Teeth
- Swollen, Red 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 Oral Examinations
Elkridge Animal Hospital recommends that all puppies and kittens receive a dental examination during their initial visits. Adult dogs and cats should be evaluated at least once a year. Pet dental checkups are included in your pet's annual wellness exam, which includes a full physical exam extending from their mouth to their tail. The oral exam evaluates for visible conditions of the teeth and mouth to determine if a dental cleaning is recommended.
Pet Dental Cleanings at Elkridge Animal Hospital
Our dental cleaning procedure as known as a dental prophylaxis includes:
- a sedated, thorough dental exam
- an IV catheter along with IV fluids
- a dedicated technician to monitor your pet's vitals during anesthesia
- ultrasonic dental scaling to remove plaque, tartar and/or calculus
- polishing to help prevent future build up
- dental radiographs to evaluate beneath the gumline (if needed)
- tooth extractions (if needed)
- Clindoral treatment, a topical antibiotic gel (as needed)
- medications for pain management and infection prevention
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. We will also send your dog home with free VeggieDent dental chews samples to help prevent plaque buildup.
To learn more about our veterinary dental services and how it can protect the health of your pet, call us at 410-379-6789 today.