Dental care is one of the most overlooked and most important parts of caring for your pet. At Parkside Animal Health Center, we are committed to educating owners about just how important it is for pets to have dental care. Just like we have to take care of our own teeth with regular cleanings, our pets need the same type of regular dental care.
Over time, bacteria can build-up in your pet’s mouth. This build-up can cause a long list of problems as your pet struggles to deal with all that bacteria. At best, it can cause some bad breath for your dog or cat. However, on the other side of things, once the dental disease progresses far enough all that bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause kidney or heart disease. Not to mention making eating a painful experience for your pet! Dental disease is a lot more than bad breath!
If you’re seeing any of the following there is likely some degree of dental disease present:
- Stinky or smelly breath
- Teeth that are broken
- Teeth that are loose or wiggle
- Discolored teeth
- Noticeable or obvious tartar on the teeth.
Part of the problem with dental disease is that much of the bacteria lies below the visible part of the tooth so the only way to fully assess the teeth is to use dental x-rays which allow us to evaluate the roots of the teeth and the surrounding bones. If you notice any of the signs above in your pet, we recommend scheduling an exam to have one our veterinarians evaluate your pet further.
Why Does A Dental Cleaning Require Anesthesia?
In order to thoroughly and deeply clean your pet’s teeth, we need to anesthetize your pet. At Parkside, we always use dental radiographs to evaluate dental disease which requires us to place a small probe in the mouth of your pet. This expensive and specific equipment could not be used on an awake animal since it would break if bitten into! While many people have trained their dog to do some amazing things I don’t think any dog would sit still for a full set of dental radiographs!
What Happens During A Dental Cleaning For My Pet?
During a dental cleaning, your pet’s overall oral health will be thoroughly evaluated. After collecting a full set of dental radiographs, our experienced veterinary team will provide a full cleaning including hard to reach spots below the gum line. This is called scaling the teeth and is done by using an ultrasonic scaler that breaks apart plaque and tartar. The teeth will then be polished to smooth out the surface of the teeth and decrease the chance of further plaque and tartar build up. If severe or major disease is found on any of the teeth our veterinarian may decide that extraction of the diseased tooth is the best option.
The first step to tackling dental disease is a consultation with one of our veterinarians. From there, we can make a plan to anesthetize your pet for a further work up and cleaning or make a plan to keep your pet’s already healthy teeth looking and feeling great!