If a pet’s dental needs are neglected, plaque and tartar can build up on the gums and teeth. Bacteria accumulate around tartar deposits, often leading to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, which affects the gums, bones and connective tissues around the teeth, can cause tooth loss. The same bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream and cause or aggravate lung, kidney, liver, and heart problems.
In order to prevent dental disease, it is important to have your veterinarian perform regular oral checkups. At Park East, every visit includes an oral exam, performed as part of your pet's complete physical examination. If your veterinarian finds any buildup of tartar, also called calculus, a full dental cleaning may be recommended. While your pet is under general anesthesia, his teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic dental scaler, much like the one your own dentist uses, and then polished. Polishing smooths the surface of the teeth to help discourage future tartar formation. Your pet may then receive a fluoride treatment to help strengthen the teeth and prevent tartar buildup.
At Park East Animal Hospital we also offer dental radiographs, which are an essential tool in the maintenance of your pets’ oral health. Two thirds of dogs’ and cats’ teeth are under the gingiva (gums) and are not visible. Detailed radiographic and physical examination of the teeth, gums, and jaws are performed. Dental radiographs allow assessment of the teeth (fractures or internal disease), the surrounding soft tissues (periodontal disease, tumors, etc.), the joints, and bones.
Dry food can also help in the fight against dental disease; whenever your pet crunches on the food, the scraping cleans his teeth, acting like an edible toothbrush. Ask your veterinarian about the different types of pet food and treats which are effective in keeping your pet's breath fresh and teeth clean. Hill’s t/d prescription diet food and Purina DH, which are formulated for the nutritional management of dogs and cats with dental disease, help prevent bad breath, gingivitis, and plaque and tartar buildup. Treats that are great tasting and help keep your pet’s teeth clean, such as VOHC approved Veterinary Formula Greenies for dogs and cats, are also available.
Good dental hygiene promotes good health. Call today to schedule a dental assessment and help increase the length and improve the quality of your pet's life.