An often over looked but critical part of your pet’s overall health is dental care. A pet with an unhealthy mouth is an unhealthy pet. Animals with oral disease often have mouth pain and they are more likely to suffer from disease related to mouth bacteria. We know that animals with healthy mouths live an average of two years longer than dogs whose mouths are unhealthy.
You might ask why some dogs have dental disease and some do not. The answer lies in genetics, diet and dental care.
Facts about Your Pet’s Mouth
- All pets need yearly mouth exams
- Bad breath is a sign of dental disease or other illness.
- Small dogs tend to have more dental disease than large dogs. Small dogs have the same number of teeth as large dogs, but the teeth have to fit in a smaller space, thus often causing teeth crowding. Small dogs also pant more, which dries up saliva. This is important because saliva helps to protect against dental disease.
- 60% of dental disease occurs below the gum line and can only be identified through probing, cleaning and dental X-rays.
- Ideally pets should have their teeth brushed at least three times a week. If brushing is not possible, safe dental chews or tarter softening agents may be of some help.
- 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease as early as 3 years old.
- Signs of dental disease include pain, excessive drooling, broken or loose teeth, bleeding gums, and dropping food out of the mouth.
Facts About Puppies and Kittens
- Most of the adult teeth are present about 6 months of age. In small breed dogs we will often see a delay of adult teeth. It may take up to 8 months of age for all adult teeth to come in.
- Misaligned teeth may cause problems.
- Retained baby teeth may need removal. This can be done at the time of spay or neuter.
- It is important to get your pet used to brushing or wiping the teeth at a young age to help prevent future dental problems.
Facts About Elderly Pets
- Tooth loss may be preventable with proper yearly dental cleaning.
- Mouth disease can cause pain and infection and affect a pet’s quality of life.
- Older pets may need more diagnostics prior to a dental to make sure that they are healthy enough for an anesthetic procedure.
- As our pets age, their organ function may change. We need to be aware of these changes so that we can properly prepare our anesthetic protocol to match the needs of the pet.
Dental Services We Provide
- An oral exam to determine whether a dental procedure is recommended.
- A comprehensive individual plan which may include dental radiographs
- Blood work is recommended prior to any anesthetic procedure
- General anesthesia is required to do proper full mouth evaluation and X-rays. All our patients receive IV fluids, blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level monitoring throughout procedure
- A dental procedure includes assessment of each tooth and cleaning and polishing. To clean the teeth an ultrasonic tip is used to remove tartar and clean beneath the gum line. In some cases, teeth may require additional treatments such as infusing antibiotics beneath the gum line to help minimize pocket formation. In the event that a tooth cannot be saved, we will complete a planned extraction of that tooth with local nerve blocking to minimize pain and discomfort.
- Dental radiographs are an important tool in the treatment of your pet’s teeth. Without them, dental disease often goes undiagnosed. Here at Little Silver Animal Hospital we have digital radiography to better assess dental disease and decide the course of treatment for our clients.