Your Pet's Dental Care
As a responsible pet owner, you take good care of your pet. But do you always remember to take care of his/her teeth? Pets have dental diseases and problems just like people. Many of these problems can be avoided by bringing your pet to Brentwood Veterinary Center for regular dental check-ups and dental cleanings.
Signs of Dental Problems
You can prevent serious dental problems from happening by making sure your pet receives dental exams at the time of each vaccination, again at six months of age, and then annually. In between visits to the veterinarian, check your pet's teeth regularly for signs of problems. Symptoms of dental disease include:
- Bad breath: one of the first signs of dental disease
- A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
- Red, swollen gums
- Pain or bleeding during eating or mouth contact
- Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
- Loose or missing teeth
Does your pet have bad breath or reddened gums?
If so, gingivitis could be the cause. Gingivitis occurs when soft plaque hardens into rough, irritating tartar. Tartar build-up on your pet's teeth can cause damage to the teeth and gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to an infection called periodontal disease. This disease can cause the loss of teeth.
Your Pet’s Dental Cleanings
For most of us, caring for our teeth and gums has been part of our daily routine for as long as we can remember. Consequently, a person's visit to the dentist is relatively brief and does not require sedation. In contrast, your pet’s dental care is considerably more involved, time consuming and complex. It requires general anesthesia and a day's hospitalization—along with the skills of several people, from veterinarians to veterinary technicians and assistants.
A pre-dental workup involves laboratory and diagnostic tests to better evaluate your pet's current health status and to assure safe anesthesia. Current medical problems must be evaluated and any possible unknown problems must be identified prior to dentistry.
For all pets, regardless of age, we suggest a brief in-hospital blood screen and a pre-operative electrocardiogram (EKG) on the day of the dentistry. For older animals, a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry profile is performed prior to the dentistry.
Your pet's dental cleaning begins with a physical examination. This is important to evaluate your pet's general health. After the physical exam, your pet is given anesthesia for a safe and painless sleep during the dental cleaning.
The first part of animal dental cleaning requires the removal of tartar. This is done by hand, using tartar forceps.
Next, an ultrasonic scaler is used above and below the gumline. Once the teeth have been thoroughly cleaned a periodontal probe is used to check for pockets below the gumline. Deep pockets mean periodontal disease and infection. If deep pockets are found they are cleaned by hand using a curette to remove plaque and tartar from the exposed root surfaces. If necessary, dental x-rays are taken to help guide further treatment. Your pet's teeth are then polished, creating a smooth surface. The gums are washed with an anti-bacterial solution to help delay tartar build-up both below the gumline and on the crown of the tooth. Finally, the doctor also administers a fluoride treatment to strengthen your pet's teeth, desensitize exposed roots, and decrease infection.
Home Care and Prevention
Dental care does not end with a visit to Brentwood Veterinary Center. You need to continue your veterinarian's good work at home. Brushing your pet's teeth is an important part of home dental care. A staff member at Brentwood Veterinary Center will show you the proper method of brushing your pet's teeth.
Give Your Pet Complete Dental Care
Annual veterinary dental care and home dental care help keep your pet's breath fresh and gums and teeth healthy. Your pet's smile and healthier life will be matched by your smile and pride in a job well done