According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, by just 3 years of age, some 80% of dogs and 70% of cats are already affected by oral disease. This represents the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Some signs commonly associated with oral disease include yellow or brown tartar buildup, red inflamed gums, bad breath, changes in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and/or generalized depression. In some cases, the pet owner may not notice any symptoms at all, although the gum inflammation may be extensive! The good news is this dangerous condition can be prevented through routine veterinary dental care. At Animal Hospital of Unionville, we offer a wide range of comprehensive dental services to help our patients enjoy healthy teeth and gums.
Dental Disease is the most common life-limiting disease in pets. It is easy to control with regular dental cleaning.
Over time, food debris, bacteria and saliva in your pet’s mouth combine to form plaque around teeth at the gum line. The plaque then combines with calcium salts in the mouth to form tartar. Tartar buildup begins to migrate below the gum line and can result in the separation of the gum from the tooth. If left unchecked, more bacteria and food debris will accumulate and can eventually lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the tooth. This results in irreversible periodontal disease that in turn can lead to the loss of a tooth.
At this stage, professional cleaning is necessary as brushing alone will not remove the tartar that is below the gum line. The animal will be safely anesthetized to allow our highly skilled veterinarians to assess the degree of separation below the gum line and to remove the tartar both below and above the gum line. Dental radiography may also be performed to visualize the teeth, roots and structures below the gum line.
A thorough dental prophylaxis, as provided by the highly trained staff at Animal Hospital of Unionville, involves several steps, including the removal of tartar with ultrasonography, manual scraping and curettage, polishing of surfaces, flushing, disinfection and fluoride application.
It’s important to note that your pet’s dental disease may be a sign of other disease processes occurring elsewhere in your pet’s body. A thorough physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if this is the case. There are other reasons you should pay close attention to your pet’s dental health. Dental disease can affect other significant organs in the body. Bacteria in the mouth can circulate through the blood stream and potentially cause serious kidney infections, liver disease, lung disease and heart valve disease.
A veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. We can also recommend and demonstrate preventative measures that you can practice at home, in between visits, to help keep your pet’s mouth healthy. Our wellness programs emphasize and explain how you can avoid costly dental procedures with your pet in the future.
If you are concerned about your pet’s dental health, please book an appointment for a veterinary exam and consultation. Together we will help your pet enjoy a healthy mouth for life!