February is National Pet Dental Health Month

by Dr. Peter Hill 11. February 2014 15:20

Dr. Peter Hill

Dental care is vital to your pet’s health! If you’ve already established a dental care program for your pet, you’re off to a great start. But if your pet hasn’t received a dental exam from your veterinarian, it’s time to get started. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, the perfect time to schedule a dental exam for your pet and develop a home care regimen for your best friend.

Why is dental care so important for your pet? Periodontal disease is the number one diagnosed problem in pets- by the age of two; more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have periodontal disease in one form or another. The buildup of plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth leads to bacterial infections that can enter the bloodstream and infect other parts of your pet’s body. Periodontal disease has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, osteoporosis and other problems.

The good news is that periodontal disease is easily prevented. Routine dental cleanings and a home dental care regimen can eliminate the plaque and tartar that lead to gum disease and oral infections. During a dental cleaning, your veterinarian also performs a complete oral examination of your pet. This includes screening for oral cancer, broken teeth and cavities. Spotting these problems early on makes them easier to treat and improves your pet’s overall oral health.

Your pet’s dental cleaning is more involved that the same process you go through at the dentist’s office. Anesthesia is required to keep your pet still and comfortable during the procedure. Because of this, your pet undergoes a thorough physical examination before each dental cleaning. Laboratory blood tests, as well as other diagnostic procedures are also used to screen for potential problems and risks before anesthesia is administered. Using these results, we develop a safe anesthetic protocol specifically for your pet.

During a dental cleaning, tartar is removed form your pet’s teeth with a hand scaler. Next, a periodontal probe is used to check for pockets under the gum line- where periodontal disease and bad breath start. An ultrasonic scaler is used to clean above the gum line and a curette is used to clean and smooth the teeth under the gum line and in the crevices. Finally, the teeth are polished and an antibacterial solution is used to help delay future tartar build-up.

Dental care doesn’t end in your veterinarian’s office. Brushing your pet’s teeth at home is an added level of protection against gum disease. In order to be most effective, brushing teeth must be done at least three times a week; however, daily brushing is ideal. Brushing your pet’s teeth can be supplemented with antiseptic rinses. Some pet foods and treats are also effective in preventing plaque and tartar buildup. However, there is no substitute for regular brushing and professional dental cleanings.

Contact your veterinarian today to schedule a dental examination and cleaning for your pet. Your best friend will thank you!

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Comments (1) -

Randi Marino
Randi Marino
2/12/2015 5:06:24 PM #

There isn't a better vet out there.  Most compassionate, loving, and giving Dr. I know.  
Excited to keep up with his blog!!
Randi

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