Dental care is an important part of your pet's health. Cats and dogs suffer from the same oral health problems as people - plaque, gingivitis, tooth decay and infections. In dogs over 3 years of age, more than 80% have periodontal disease. When left untreated this can lead to bad breath and painful tooth decay. Chronic infections can affect the heart and kidneys.
During an annual wellness exam, your doctor will check the health of your pet's teeth and gums. If broken or decaying teeth are found a dental visit is recommended. Heavy tartar can hide decay so cleaning is also important.
Dentistry can feel very invasive so a general anesthetic is used to prevent undue stress. Teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler and manual tools prior to a more thorough evaluation of decay. If any tooth extractions are needed, your pet will stay comfortable with pain medications. They may also go home with pain medication and antibiotics. Pets are carefully monitored while under anesthesia by a designated technician as well as monitors for ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen levels and temperature.
The key to good oral health for your pet is a combination of at-home care and timely dental cleanings. At-home care can include: daily brushing using a pet toothpaste and toothbrush or finger brush, enzymatic rawhide chews and dietary choices designed to minimize dental problems (for example Hills Science Diet T/D Food).