DID YOU KNOW: Keeping up with your pet’s oral health can increase their lifespan by an average of two years.
Dental and oral health can play a huge part in your pet’s overall wellbeing, with most veterinarians recommending on average 1-2 dentals per year to maintain a healthy mouth. While this may seem excessive, picture our mouths if we didn’t brush daily and only went to the dentist once a year! Once we start to see tartar, this means that the bacteria on their teeth have calcified and can no longer be removed by brushing and can even be causing permanent damage to their gum tissue. At this point, the only way to remove that tartar is to have a veterinary professional scale and polish your pet’s teeth under anesthesia.
Why do we anesthetize pets for their dentals?
Visits to the dentist can be stressful to us even when we know what’s happening, and it can be even tougher for pets who may not know why they’re at the doctor. We clean your pet’s teeth with the same instruments as human dentists, which means that they can be loud and sharp. Add panting, licking, and moving into the mix, and you’ve got one recipe for a dangerous dental! Cleaning your pet’s teeth under anesthesia allows us to keep them and ourselves safe while providing a complete and thorough service, checking every nook and cranny for periodontal disease, cleaning under the gumline, and polishing those teeth to perfection. We closely monitor every patient under anesthesia throughout the service to ensure they are safe and comfortable and even run pre-anesthetic bloodwork to check that it’s safe to proceed. If not, we postpone our appointment or recommend specialty care.
What happens if we find a tooth that needs to come out?
Extractions are only necessary if a tooth is damaged beyond repair or dead, which means they are not viable to do their job or are causing pain to your pet. If a tooth is dead, that means that the tissue around it is most likely inflamed, which can be very painful. Oftentimes we hear that the pet is still eating but this does not necessarily mean there is no pain. When a tooth is infected, the infection can spread into the bone, causing it to weaken and die, or even cause jaw fractures when the tooth is being removed if the infection is extreme enough! The gum tissue surrounding an infected tooth is also extremely vascular, which means that infection can book a direct flight through the veins down to your pet’s heart. Infected and dead teeth can also create a hole in between teeth and spread infection and even cancer into their nasal passages.
How do we keep pets’ teeth clean in between dental visits?
Brushing your pet’s teeth is one of the only ways to prevent dental disease from forming, it’s just a bit different for them than for us. Focus on brushing the outsides of the teeth with a dog friendly toothpaste and your pet’s favorite toothbrush. If you can brush their teeth daily, great! If not, dental chews can be a viable option to prevent further buildup of tartar if they are certified by the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Committee) and their seal appears on the dental chew bag or box.
Brushing helps keep your pet smiling healthy and bright in between their veterinary dental visits. When in doubt, brush it out, and at least once a year, bring them here!
Schedule a dental cleaning with us today!