According to the American Veterinary Dental College, dental disease affects more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats by the age of 3. Dental conditions can cause immense discomfort for pets, making timely treatment essential. Neglecting proper dental care not only complicates and increases the cost of treatment but can also lead to serious illnesses. When left untreated, dental problems can result in systemic issues, as oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and harm vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, and liver.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
If your pet is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, we urge you to schedule an appointment immediately:
- Yellow or brown tartar accumulation on their teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Loose teeth
- Signs of depression
Ensuring proper dental care for your pets is one of the simplest ways to protect their overall health and ensure they remain pain-free. During our thorough oral exams, our team will meticulously examine your pet’s mouth, teeth, and jaw. Dental X-rays may be recommended to gain a better understanding of what lies beneath the gum line, including an evaluation of the roots that cannot be assessed from a visual exam. Regular oral exams play a crucial role in preventing irreversible dental disease, tooth loss, and potentially costly oral surgeries.
Professional Teeth Cleanings
Your pet’s dental cleaning commences with a comprehensive physical examination to assess their general health. After the initial examination, we administer a safe and painless anesthetic to facilitate the cleaning process. Since most dental diseases originate below the gumline, our process begins with the removal of tartar using a hand scaler. Subsequently, an ultrasonic scaler effectively cleans above the gum line, while a curette meticulously cleans and smooths the teeth beneath the gum line in the crevice between the teeth and gums. Our dental professionals then polish the teeth and wash the gums with an anti-bacterial solution to help delay the build-up of tartar.
Extractions and Advanced Procedures
At Shenandoah Animal Hospital, we only recommend tooth extractions in cases where they are essential for your pet’s wellbeing. When we identify an infected or broken tooth causing your pet pain, we may suggest extraction. If we do recommend tooth extraction, we will provide detailed information about the procedure and offer guidance on caring for your pet during the healing process.
Taking a Proactive Approach to Prevent Dental Disease
Taking a proactive approach is pivotal in preventing dental disease before it becomes an issue. Early-stage dental disease is one of the few things in medicine that can oftentimes be reversible after a comprehensive cleaning. This is why we advise taking a proactive versus a reactive approach to dental health. Regular wellness visits allow us to meticulously examine your pet’s mouth and teeth, enabling early detection and intervention. Additionally, implementing at-home dental care practices such as regular brushing of your pet’s teeth and incorporating teeth cleaning treats into their regimen can effectively mitigate the build-up of plaque. Lastly, we advise avoiding hard toys and bones that have the potential to cause dental damage.
Remember, your pet’s dental health is an integral part of their overall well-being. Invest in their oral care today to ensure a happy, healthy future. Schedule an appointment with Shenandoah Animal Hospital for comprehensive dental care tailored to your pet’s specific needs.