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Dental Care for Pets

Pets Need Proper Dental Care, Just Like People Do

Eighty percent of pets have periodontal disease, based on information from a scientific study published in The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science. Periodontal diseases are infections of the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and/or gums. Without proper dental care, the risk of dogs and cats developing dental diseases, including periodontal disease, will increase. Some dental diseases may lead to lung, kidney and heart disease. Just as people require healthy teeth and gums for general good health, dogs and cats need appropriate dental care to feel good. When pet owners ensure that their pets’ teeth are examined and cleaned, and arrange for dental surgical procedures to be performed when they are needed, they will help to keep their pets healthy.

Pets need proper dental care, just like people do. Daily brushing helps keep your pet healthy. My favorite toothpaste is made using coconut oil mixed with a few drops of New Zealand Deer Antler Velvet Oral Drops. I do not recommend the use of starch-based dental chews or water additives that may contain xylitol and other harmful chemicals.

Pets need regular dental checkups

Dogs and cats should be taken for oral examinations annually. Veterinary teams perform these exams. Six months is the right age for the first dental checkup. Small and medium-sized dogs usually have the most urgent dental needs and may need checkups more often. Signs that your pet needs an exam include bleeding from the mouth, tooth loss, halitosis, weight loss, reduced appetite and trouble chewing. An examination by a veterinarian is the only way to know if regular cleaning is enough, or if your pet will need a more invasive dental procedure, such as root canal or dental extraction.

Dental cleaning includes polishing and scaling

Many dogs and cats need once-per-year tooth cleaning. Some pets need their teeth cleaned more often. This type of dental care involves crown polishing and scaling. The teeth are scaled to remove plaque and tartar. Scaling eliminates build-up on the crowns of teeth, which are the visible parts of canine teeth. This type of cleaning requires anesthesia, so pets will have blood drawn beforehand, to make sure that they are healthy enough to be anesthetized. If they are, cleaning under the gum line will be performed, in addition to scaling and polishing.

Oral surgery may be necessary

Dental exams and cleanings may reveal problems that necessitate oral surgery. One form of dental surgery is tooth extraction. Usually, extractions are necessary due to fractures or chips which enter their pulp cavities. Abscesses, periodontal disease and dental cavities may also require oral surgery. Once teeth are extracted, sockets are stitched closed with dissolvable sutures.

When you schedule annual dental examinations and cleanings, and arrange for oral surgery when it’s needed, you’ll be a caring and responsible pet owner. Good dental care helps pets to survive and thrive.