Dental health is enormously important to the overall health of all dogs and cats. Capeway Veterinary Hospital will partner with you to provide excellent pet dental care both at home and in our office.
Why Should Pet Owners Take Care of a Pet’s Teeth?
Caring for your pet’s teeth and preventing periodontal disease will result in longer, healthier lives for pets. In addition to preventing “doggy breath,” regular dental care will prevent dental infections, which can spread to internal organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. Caring for your pet’s teeth will help keep their teeth for their full lifetime and avoid painful situations from tooth decay and disease.
What Should I Be Looking for in Evaluating My Pet’s Teeth?
Some of the signs of dental disease that you could look out for include:
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Reluctance to chew/crying out when chewing
- Increased salivation
- Red and/or puffy gums
- Bleeding gums
- Tartar/calculus (hard coating of teeth that is usually brown and results from plaque buildup)
- Missing and/or loose teeth
- Anything else about the mouth that appears unusual
How Do I Know When My Pet Should Come in to the Office for a Professional Cleaning?
Pet dental health is rated on a grading scale with four different levels:
- Grade I No sign of plaque or tartar—Home dental care is needed to maintain these healthy teeth and gums. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is ideal. There are products available to help make home dental care easy and hassle free, such as dental chews and dental diets.
- Grade II Mild Gingivitis—The margins of attached gum are inflamed and swollen and a thin red line along the gum line may be noticed. Plaque is beginning to cover the teeth. A dental oral assessment should be scheduled as soon as possible to avoid the progression of this disease.
- Grade III Moderate Gingivitis—The entire gum is inflamed and swollen. The mouth is painful and an odor is noticed. The pet may have gum pockets, which allow bacteria to flourish beneath the gum line. Moderate amounts of plaque are building up. It is urgent that an oral assessment and periodontal treatment is scheduled within 30 days. Addition of a tartar control diet and home dental care is needed after professional cleaning for prevention of new tartar buildup or dental issues.
- Grade IV Severe Gingivitis/Established Periodontal Disease—Chronic infection is destroying the gum, tooth, and bone. Bacteria are spreading throughout the body via the bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver, and heart. Teeth are loose and in need of extraction and gum sutures could be needed. The pet is experiencing pain from dental disease, and it is imperative that an oral assessment and treatment is scheduled immediately. Home dental care after professional cleaning is necessary for prevention or recurrence of the disease.
What Types of At-Home Dental Care Products or Training Do You Offer?
Capeway Veterinary Hospital’s staff and veterinarians will help you learn how to brush your pet’s teeth and will recommend the best products to use with your specific type of pet.
We carry a number of different dental products including:
- Chlorohexidine rinses
- Dental chews
- Mouth rinses/water additives
- Dental wipes
- CET Toothpaste
- OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews
What Is Done at an In-Hospital Oral Assessment and Cleaning?
Your pet will be placed under anesthesia for digital x-rays and the dental procedure itself. We take dental radiographs because they allow us to see the area beneath the gum line where up to 75% of your pet's tooth structure lies. By taking full-mouth radiographs, we can more accurately diagnose very common diseases such as; periodontal disease, tooth resorptions, impacted teeth, retained root fragments, dead teeth, broken tooth roots and abscessed teeth. Plaque is then removed both above and below the gum line using an ultrasonic scaler. The teeth are polished to eliminate imperfections on the surface of the tooth, and the gum line is checked for any pockets that could harbor bacteria. A sealant is then applied to further protect the teeth, and any necessary extractions are done if there are diseased teeth.
Caring for your pet’s teeth is an important part of maintaining his or her overall health. Contact Capeway Veterinary Hospital if you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment.