Dental care in Veterinary Medicine is both corrective and preventive. Research has shown that even by age of 2, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some degree of dental disease! This usually starts as tartar (brown stain) and develops into tartar and calculus. This, in turn, leads to an irreversible disease process known as periodontal disease (infection, gum recession, and tooth loss). Many people are not even aware that their pets have any problem because they may not be looking at their pet’s teeth; or perhaps, they just notice a bad smell (halitosis) coming from their pet’s mouth. This is one reason why regular wellness visits are important for your pet’s health. Your veterinarian can assess the degree of tartar and/or disease and make recommendations as to what can be done about it before permanent damage is done. This usually takes the form of recommending an in-hospital dental cleaning procedure in which your pet is sedated and the calculus and tartar are cleaned off the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler. The teeth are then polished and fluoride is applied – just like at your dentist!
Daily brushing is the best way to maintain dental health. We can instruct you on how to start. A good home-care routine can stretch out the time that a pet needs to have a thorough cleaning done in the hospital. Brushing the teeth of some pets does prove to be a challenge, however, so there are other means of keeping your pet’s teeth clean, too – such as chews, medicated rinses, and topical gels.
The veterinarians at Pennfield Animal Hospital can help you determine the best, most effective means of keeping your pet’s teeth in good health between regular dental cleanings.