According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 70% of adult cats and 80% of adult dogs show symptoms of oral disease. This is an excellent reminder of how important your pet’s dental condition is for their overall health, as strong oral hygiene will also help to prevent infections that can spread through the bloodstream to affect major organs such as your pet’s liver, kidneys, and heart.
Your pet’s dental care is not different than your own dental care; it requires constant maintenance and oversight. Imagine if you didn’t brush your teeth for a few days, you would notice pretty quickly that something didn’t feel right. Our pet’s use their mouths for so much more than just eating, and gum and tooth pain can make life really hard on them. This is why we perform a dental exam during every single visit, to make sure no issues have arisen.
Signs that your pet may be experiencing dental problems include difficulty chewing or swallowing, red or bleeding gums, listlessness or disinterest in food, drooling, and failure to groom in cats. Fortunately, the disease progresses slowly, and there are actions we can take. If you should notice any of these symptoms in your pet make an appointment for a pet teeth cleaning at our animal hospital as soon as possible.
There are two types of pet dental cleanings offered at Lake Forest Animal Clinic: a non-anesthetic dental and an anesthetic dental. The veterinarian will advise you to which kind of dental is most appropriate to address the dental needs of your pet. A non-anesthetic dental is useful for pets having a minimum to moderate amount of plaque build-up without loose or infected teeth. In moderate to severe dental issues, an anesthetic dental is necessary which involves the scraping and removing of tartar build-up, polishing of the teeth, and applying a protective fluoride coating. Full mouth dental radiographs (x-rays) are taken so that we can evaluate the health of the teeth under the gum line. Sometimes dental abscesses are found in teeth that look healthy from the outside. This shows the importance of dental x-rays, which can only be done with the pet under anesthesia. Then, any infected or unhealthy teeth are extracted. We hear clients say time and time again that their pets seem happier and more energetic after dental extractions. After removing the teeth, they are brighter and thankful!
Preventative Dental Care
Pets are prone to dental disease, just like people. In fact, the majority of dogs and cats who don’t receive preventative dental care will show signs of periodontal (gum) disease by the age of 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. Dental disease can cause a variety of problems for your pet, including tooth pain, difficulty eating, and weight loss. The bacteria associated with oral disease can enter the bloodstream and serve as a source of infection to various organs, including the kidneys, liver, and heart. Failure to get preventative dental care for your pet can lead to a lower quality of life in your pet’s later years.
However, proper oral health care can add up to five years to your pet’s life. Older pets may need dental cleanings more than once a year. Smaller breeds of dogs are more susceptible to periodontal disease than larger breeds. Visit our veterinarians at Lake Forest Animal Clinic for a pet teeth cleaning so we can help your pet feel their best!
What Our Lake Forest Veterinarians Can Do
- Examinations: We will do a complete oral exam to look for periodontal disease, excessive tartar, loose, chipped or missing teeth, inflamed or bleeding gums, abnormal clicking sounds, or a sensitive and painful mouth. Contrary to popular belief, it is not normal for pets to have a terribly smelly breath!
- Dental Cleanings: If we determine that your pet needs treatment, we will make recommendations for either an anesthetic or a non-anesthetic dental.
What You Can Do
- Be proactive after your pet’s dental cleaning! Brush your pet’s teeth, use germ control dental sprays, and offer food especially formulated to reduce tartar formation.
- Bring your pet into Lake Forest Animal Clinic every 6 to 12 months for an oral exam and possible teeth cleaning.
- Contact us today with any questions!
Anesthetic Pet Dental Care
Would you believe that dogs and cats that have proper pet dental care live up to 5 years longer than those who don’t? Your veterinarian in Lake Forest offers expert anesthesia-based dental services for your dog or cat.
Dogs and cats don’t often get cavities like their owners but they do suffer regularly from periodontal or gum disease. Bad breath, gum inflammation, discolored teeth, loose or missing teeth, tartar, plaque and tooth abscesses are all part of this disease process. Periodontal disease causes a progressive loss of bone which can be quite painful for your pet. In addition, oral infections can result in bacteria entering the bloodstream and damaging organs or other body systems which can shorten your pet’s life.
Signs That Your Pet Needs A Dental Exam
- Bad breath
- Visible tartar
- Loose or missing teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Pawing at the teeth and mouth
- Difficulty eating
- Discharge from the nose
- Swelling under the eyes
- Loss of appetite
Prevention Is The Answer
The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable through regular oral examinations, thorough dental cleanings, and home dental care. Brushing, rinses, special treats, hard chew toys, and dental diets (Hill’s T/D) all aid in extending the positive effects of a professional anesthetic dental cleaning.
Why Anesthetic Is Necessary
Anesthesia is necessary so that your veterinarian can thoroughly examine your pet’s mouth and evaluate all of the teeth in a safe environment. Your pet is calm and pain-free throughout the entire procedure. Because it is not practical or even possible to use numbing injections of Novocaine as is done in people, any dental work that may be painful such as deep cleaning, removal of infected teeth, periodontal therapy, and x-rays, all require the use of anesthesia. Preanesthetic blood work and an EKG will be done prior to an anesthetic dental to evaluate your pet’s health and to rule out any hidden concerns that could affect your pet’s ability to undergo the anesthetic procedure.
During the anesthetic process, an IV catheter delivers IV fluids to your pet. A technician monitors your pet’s vital signs using a variety of state-of-the-art equipment. Your pet’s comfort, safety, and wellness is our primary concern and we always tailor dental care according to the patient’s unique needs.
What to Expect
After the induction of anesthesia, an ultrasonic scaler is used to remove the dental tartar on the surface of the teeth as well as beneath the gum tissue. The enamel surface is then polished with prophy- paste to decrease the build-up of further plaque. Obviously loose or broken teeth are extracted. However, Dental x-rays are imperative to evaluate the roots of all the teeth to determine if any extractions (not readily seen) are necessary. Injectable pain medication is used throughout the dental procedure to keep it comfortable and pain-free. Antibiotics and pain medications will be prescribed for home use if indicated. Your pet will recover in a quiet area under close supervision and should be able to go home the same day.
Non-Anesthetic Pet Dental Treatment
Your pet’s health is an important aspect of his or her quality of life and dental care is just as important to them as it is to you.
At Lake Forest Animal Clinic, we offer two types of dental cleanings: those performed under general anesthesia and those performed awake without the use of anesthesia. Our veterinarians would be happy to do a complete oral exam on your pet to determine which dental procedure is most appropriate.
Who qualifies for a non-anesthetic dental?
- Cooperative pets who have mild to moderate tarter
- Pets with certain medical conditions
- Pets on maintenance dental plans
Our dental technicians are, not only very experienced in non-anesthetic teeth cleaning but also possess the patience and gentle restraint techniques needed to make the procedure comfortable and stress-free for your pet. They will chart your pet’s mouth and provide details on the state of each tooth. The frequency of non-anesthetic dental varies from 3 to 6 months to once a year. Follow up care at home includes daily toothbrushing, rinsing, tartar control treats, and specific food (such as Hill’s T/D). If any serious tooth or gum lesions are discovered, we will recommend that the dental treatment is continued under general anesthetic to be scheduled at a later date.