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.
Why is this so important?
Periodontal disease progresses quickly and begins when bacteria combine with food particles to form plaque on the teeth. Soon, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar, a substance that strongly adheres to the teeth. When bacteria get under the gum line, inflammation occurs and leads to gingivitis, which destroys the tissues surrounding the teeth and causes eventual tooth loss.
Since many pet owners struggle to brush their pet’s teeth regularly and bacteria accumulates under the gum line, regular dental cleanings conducted by the veterinary health care team are important.
How we can help.
There are two types of 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!
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an oral exam for your pet, please contact us today!