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February is National Pet Dental Health Month
How can a professional dental cleaning by a veterinarian help my pet?
A professional dental cleaning will remove plaque, stain, and tartar encrusted above and below the gumline, restoring your dog or cat's teeth to a clean and polished condition, and removing the bacteria that can cause gum disease.
Will my pet suffer if I don't take care of its teeth and gums?
Gum disease can cause pets pain and serious dental problems later in life, as well as possibly lead to more serious illnesses, such as heart and kidney disease. But gum disease can be prevented. By begining early in your pet's life to care for its teeth, you can spare your pet the discomfort caused by gum disease.
Can pets get cavities?
Pets, like their human owners, can get cavities. However, cavities are relatively rare in pets because pets' diets generally aren't high in decay-causing sugars. Veterinary dental experts have noticed a mild rise in the incidence of cavities among pets fed sugary treats. To avoid cavities in your pet's mouth, feed only pet food and treats designed for pets.
Is general anesthesia necessary to clean teeth?
Unfortunately, yes. It is impossible to use the mechanical and sharp instruments in the mouth without the patient being completely still. The slightest movement can cause harm. In addition, scaling below the gumline is a very important part of the procedure. This is where many bacteria can hide. Failure to remove these bacteria eliminates any medical benefit from the procedure.
I am afraid of having general anesthesia used on my pet. What can be done?
Safety starts out with preanesthesia blood panels. Evaluating the internal organs and blood cells in this manner improves safety by detecting underlying disease. Gas anesthetics such as Sevoflurane and Isoflurane have tremendously improved anesthesia safety. Monitoring by blood pressure, pulse oximeter, EKG, and respiratory have also increased safety. The risk of anesthesia verses the benefit of treatment will be discussed on an individual basis.
How do I know if my pet has Periodontal Disease?
What should I be doing?
Brush. Preventing periodontal disease begins at home. By brushing your pet's teeth on a regular basis, you will help to reduce plaque buildup. Be sure to use a toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for pets.
Clean. You visit your dentist regulary for cleaning and dental exams; you should take your dog or cat to your veterinarian for the same type of care. Regular professional cleaning under general anesthesia, including areas under the gum line will help remove plaque and tartar on teeth. This can help reduce the bacteria's contribution to periodontitis.