At Animal Medical and Surgical hospital, we can address all of your pet's dental concerns and needs.
We can even make a prevention plan for your pet.
Dr. Pfeffer, Dr. Vanderhoof, Dr. Thomas, Dr. McClain are trained to handle anything from routine dental cleanings and root canals to oral surgeries. We even have Dental Digital X-Ray! (This allows us to evaluate the tooth root and the surrounding bone. Please, let us know if you have a special area of concern.)
Did you know?
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some degree of periodontal disease by the age of 3 years?
Pets with periodontal disease constantly swallow bacteria and the bacteria gets into the blood stream. This bacteria can land in places like the heart, kidneys and other organs leading to disease and organ failure.
Bacteria from your pet's mouth is transferred to you and your children every time they give you kisses.
What to look for...
Healthy Teeth and Gums
Healthy teeth shouldn't have tarter or plaque build up and there should be no root exposure of any of the teeth.
Healthy gums should be pink and adhered to the tooth.
Is this what you see when you lift your pet's lip?
Stage 1 Periodontal Disease
We start to see plaque and tarter build up on the base of the tooth.
Plaque appears as a yellow film that can easily be scraped off of the tooth.
The tarter is a firm substance on the tooth that is not easily scraped off.
The gums may be slightly red and inflamed near the base of the tooth (gingivitis).
The gums may easily bleed when scraped.
At this stage, you may notice that your pet's breath is foul smelling.
There is bacteria mixed in the plaque and tarter that is beginning to break down the ligaments that attach the gum to the tooth.
We are starting down the road of bacterial infection, tooth loss, bad breath and mouth pain.
Stage 2 Periodontal Disease
- Now we begin to see the gum line receding.
- You will notice that there is root exposure of some of the teeth.
- The gums are not only receding but the gingiva is coming away (losing attachment) from the tooth and pockets are forming.
- The pockets are collecting food debris and bacteria.
- Your pet's breath is pretty foul at this stage. You may notice it when they lick your face or hand or you may smell it on their fur after they have licked themselves.
- They may not like to have their face and mouth touched because of the pain that they feel.
- Appetite may be declining at this stage because it hurts to eat.
Stage 3 Periodontal Disease
In stage 3, there is 20 to 50% loss of the attachment between the tooth and gums.
When you lift up your pet's lip, you will notice thick brown or yellow tarter on the teeth.
Under all of that tarter, the gums have receded to the point that there is significant tooth root exposure.
The body is trying to fight back by sending white blood cells to the area. This shows up as pus that oozes out from under the gum line.
The infection that is present causes swelling and pain. The infection is also snaking its way into your pet's blood stream and organs.
Your pet may not be eating well and may seem cranky or irritable.
Some may think that this is just the pet getting old, when in reality, it is excessive pain that you can do something about.
Stage 4 Periodontal Disease
- At this stage, your pet hurts!
- If your pet will let you lift the lip, you will see extremely heavy buildup, pus along the gum line, loose and missing teeth and bleeding gums.
- The infection has already spread into the organs and bloodstream but now it is getting into the bone.
- Abscessed tooth roots, infections of the jaw and nasal infections are common at this stage.
- Your pet is most likely refusing to eat, won't allow you near the mouth, doesn't want to play, may be snappy and depressed.
- By this time, a dental cleaning is crucial for the wellbeing and health of your pet.
- Many teeth may need to be extracted.
- If you allow your pet to get to this stage, the cost of happiness, length of life and cost of the dental may be significant.
What Can We Do About It? Prevention and Treatment!
We recommend routine brushing, C.E.T. chews, mouth rinse and regular dental cleanings.
Brush Those Pearly Whites!
Brushing the teeth is an important step to prevent the tarter and plaque from building up. The American Veterinary Dental Society recommends brushing your pet's teeth daily along with twice yearly dental cleanings with your veterinarian.
You do have to use toothpaste made for pets. They come in many great tasting flavors. A good tip is to start brushing when they are babies. This gets them used to the routine. BUT... today is always a good day to start brushing, no matter what your pet's age. Call us to talk to one of our nurses about what toothpaste to use and how to brush your pet's teeth.
Dental Chews and Treats
At Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital, we use and recommend the use of C.E.T. chews. These great tasting chews are coated with an antibacterial enzyme that breaks down the plaque. It is much more effective than ordinary treats. One chew a day is all they need. How easy is that? Come by and pick up a bag to try.
We also have Hill's Prescription diet T/D. This diet can be fed as a sole diet or give one or two a day as a treat. This diet has actually been awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council's Seal of Acceptances for helping to reduce both tarter and plaque build up!
There are many mouth rinses out there. We really like the C.E.T. oral rinse. It contains an antibacterial enzyme that actually helps break down the tarter and plaque build up. One squirt on each side of the mouth daily is all it takes for this rinse. And unlike other rinses that are available, it is safe for your pet to swallow.
Dental Cleanings - Regularly!
The prevention will go a long way to help decrease the number of dental cleanings that your pet will need. But a regular dental cleaning with your veterinarian is still going to be necessary. You DON'T want to get to stage 2,3 or 4 dental disease with your pet. These stages will shorten your pet's life and decrease the quality of life for you and your pet. Depending on your pet, they may need to have a dental cleaning every 6 months or once yearly.
Please, come in so that our veterinarians can evaluate your pet's mouth. We can see if a dental cleaning is needed. We can also talk about a prevention plan.