Dental Care for Dogs and Cats
Did you know that oral and dental health is one of the most important aspects of your pet’s overall health? This is due to the mouth-body connection. If left untreated, gum disease, which can result from years without dental care, can eventually affect the internal organs. Of course, no one wants this for their pet, and we don’t want it for our patients. That’s why we strongly recommend annual dental exams so we can determine if a dog or cat teeth cleaning is needed.
We believe in preventive care with all of our services because prevention is easier and more cost-effective than treatment. The pet dental care services at VIP Animal Hospitals are designed to both prevent and treat oral problems, including broken teeth and gum disease. Our dental suites are equipped with modern tools and technology, allowing our veterinarians to perform high-quality dental care with patient safety and comfort at the forefront.
Signs of Gum Disease
Since gum disease is one of the most common diseases seen in pets, it’s important for you as a pet owner to be familiar with its symptoms. There are several stages of gum disease in pets and the more advanced the stage, the more symptoms there are. The following are some of the most common ones:
- Chronic bad breath
- Swollen, red gums
- Loose teeth
- Trouble eating
- Pawing at the mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Brownish yellow tartar buildup along gum line
A dental evaluation consists of an examination of your pet’s teeth and gums to confirm that a dog or cat teeth cleaning is necessary. Once it has been determined what your pet needs, a plan will be made for getting your pet’s teeth cleaned and we will schedule an appointment.
Dog and Cat Teeth Cleaning Procedure
Once your pet is under anesthesia a more thorough examination can be performed and then the teeth will be cleaned and polished. Hand and ultrasonic scalers are used to remove tartar and plaque which cause periodontal disease. It is especially important to clean below the gum line since tartar growth is the primary cause of advanced periodontal disease. Polishing the teeth after the cleaning removes microscopic scratches and slows down future plaque accumulation. Once your pet's dental cleaning is completed, we use cold laser therapy to help reduce any potential inflammation.
Every tooth will be checked above and below the gum line for periodontal disease and abnormalities will be recorded in your pet’s medical record. A periodontal probe is used to check for bleeding gums, accumulation of food in pockets and for tooth decay. During the procedure additional issues such as cavities and advanced periodontal disease may be found, and there is a possibility that some teeth may need to be extracted. Our findings may also necessitate a follow-up visit.
At-Home Dog and Cat Teeth Cleaning
Bringing your pet in once a year for an exam and scheduling teeth cleanings as needed are important in keeping your pet’s mouth healthy, but at-home care is equally important. We recommend that you brush your pet’s teeth with a pet-safe toothpaste daily, or at least a few times a week. It is important to use a pet-specific toothpaste, as human toothpaste and baking soda should never be used in pets as they contain ingredients that can cause internal issues if swallowed. Pet toothpaste not only tastes great to your pet, they are specifically designed to break down your pet’s plaque, reducing the time that you spend brushing their teeth.