Most people have heard the term 'doggy breath', and understand what it means - and how it smells. Bad breath in pets is extremely common, but the concern goes far beyond unpleasant odors. In truth, bad breath is one of the first signs of dental disease; and, one of the most common conditions affecting dogs and cats today.
Dental disease doesn't start and end with bad breath. When left untreated, dental disease can cause significant pain and discomfort due to the accumulation of oral bacteria. The side effects of neglected dental care in pets is similar to if you were to skip brushing your teeth for years, or visiting the dentist for a professional cleaning on a routine basis.
Observe any of these signs in your pet? Let us know so we can help!
At Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate, we partner with you to make dental care a key component of your pet's routine preventative care. That's why a visual examination is part of every physical examination performed at our facility. With just our eyes-and our noses-we can get a general understanding of your pet's overall dental condition. We'll look for things like loose or discolored teeth, swollen or bleeding gums, and excessive drooling.
In some cases, dental radiographs may be recommended following a visual dental examination, depending on the severity of dental disease observed. This allows us to see below the gumline, where the majority of dental disease is found. It also allows our trained veterinary team to pinpoint severely rotted teeth, diseased teeth, and foreign objects lodged beneath the gums-all of which are severely painful. In some cases, the teeth may be beyond repair, which would warrant an extraction(s), all performed with rigorous and mindful pain management techniques.
After your pet's dental examination, your veterinarian may recommend a professional dental cleaning to deep-clean the teeth and gums and completely rid the mouth of dental disease and related infections. Because the majority of dental disease is found below the gumline, a simple brushing of the teeth will not be a proper solution.
Professional dental cleanings are legally required to be performed under general anesthesia. We understand the concern many pet owners have over anesthesia, but do not fret. This is done for the safety of the pet and the safety of the trained veterinary professional performing the procedure, and our facility follows strict safety protocols.
It's important to remember that a pet's dental health is largely dependent on what happens at home. We can do our part during physical exams and routine dental cleanings, but it's highly encouraged to practice proper dental care between visits. Ask your veterinarian for pet-friendly dental product recommendations! Not all human products are safe to use on our furry friends.
If you're fortunate enough that your pet will allow you to brush their teeth at home, that's fantastic! However, this is not the reality for many of our clients. For finicky pets, there are many dental alternatives such as rinses, treats, and toys that will help break down plaque and tartar build-up as your pet chews.
If you recently added a new furry family member to the mix, start brushing their teeth early! The sooner a pet's teeth begin being brushed, the more cooperative and less stressed they will be.