Periodontal disease is the most prevalent ailment of dogs and cats. In fact, more than 85% of dogs and cats over 4 years of age have periodontal disease! It starts out as a bacterial film called plaque, which eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar build-up on the animal’s teeth initially causes bad breath; however, if left untreated this annoyance progresses into a disease process that leads to tooth decay, tooth loss, pain, bleeding gums, and the growth of harmful bacteria. This bacteria then spreads throughout your pet’s body, potentially damaging the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver.
There are many ways that you can help to maintain your pet’s oral health at home (see below,) but once tartar builds up on the teeth, the only way to take care of the problem is a professional ultrasonic cleaning. Just as your personal dentist cleans your teeth, our specially trained veterinary technicians use special dental instruments that produce ultrasonic vibrations to break up the stubborn tartar on your cat’s or dog’s teeth, including the area below the gum line. This cleaning is followed by dental polishing, and in some cases a dental sealant that helps slow tartar from accumulating on the teeth. Anesthetic is required in order to ensure a thorough, pain-free examination and dental cleaning; without anesthetic, it isn’t possible to clean the inside surfaces of your pet’s teeth, or under the gums where periodontal disease develops. While your pet is under anesthesia, his vital signs (including body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration) will be constantly monitored and recorded.
We also provide a state-of-the-art digital dental radiography (x-ray) service for our patients so that any underlying abnormalities, changes in bone density, or infection in your pet’s mouth can be detected. Dental x-rays will also allow us to confirm the need for tooth extraction when teeth are loose or badly infected.
Call us to schedule an examination appointment for your pet if you notice any of the following signs of dental disease: bad breath, yellowing teeth/tartar build-up, bleeding or swollen gums, broken teeth, reluctance to eat or dropping of food, pawing at the face and mouth, drooling (especially in cats,) chronic sneezing or abnormal nasal discharge, and frequent eye infections or unexplained discharge from the eyes.
There are some things that you can do at home to slow down this process of tartar buildup:
OraVet gel is a barrier sealant that helps protect the teeth and gums from plaque and tartar buildup which is caused by bacteria. The sealant is odorless, tasteless and invisible once applied. The barrier sealant application is included in all of our dentals. However, to maintain that protective barrier we recommend applying the Plaque Prevention Gel at home. It is a gel that is easily applied to the gum line of your pet and is done routinely once a week. This will help reduce the bacteria in your pet’s mouth which will cut down on bad breath. The gel will also extend the time between dental cleanings.
Brushing your pets teeth can be done at home using a finger toothbrush or a 2 X 2 gauze pad. Our hospital sells finger brushes, gauze pads and toothpaste for your pet. However do not use human toothpaste! Human tooth paste will upset your pets stomach. To get your pet used to the idea of brushing their teeth, start out by wetting your finger and gently rubbing their teeth in a circular motion. Then you can gradually introduce the finger brush followed by the pet toothpaste. You should brush your pets teeth once a day provide good dental preventative care.
This product is a drinking water additive used to decrease plaque and calculus accumulation. It also reduces gingival bleeding and halitosis.
CET HEXtra treats
This is a chlorhexidine treat that is formulated to remove plaque and tartar. It can be used in addition to brushing or using the water additive.
Maxiguard Oral Cleaning Gel
This product does not require brushing. It is applied directly to your pet’s gums and the saliva carries the gel across the teeth therefore reducing plaque as it goes. This product is also a good product to use after brushing to reduce plaque accumulation.
This is a treat made to help keep your pet’s teeth clean and fresh. This product is best used in conjunction with one of the other products listed above.
Proper nutrition for pet is a must in ensuring good oral hygiene as well as good health in general. One thing to avoid is giving your pet table or wet food. Instead stick with hard kibbled food. There are some products out such as Science Diet T/D that are a food that are specially formulated for tartar control.