Pet Dental Care at Best Friends Animal Hospital
Dental disease, specifically periodontal disease, is the most common ailment affecting pet dogs and cats. According to the American veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop gum disease by the age of three. Periodontal disease can have a serious impact on both your pet’s well-being and general health.
Regular dental check-ups with Best Friends Animal Hospital, combined with good dental hygiene at home, can increase your pet’s health, vitality and well-being. If left untreated, dental disease can not only be painful and inhibit proper nutrition, but it can also lead to serious systemic issues, such as heart and kidney disease, that may threaten your pet’s overall health. For those reasons, we strongly consider dental care an important piece of your dog’s or cat’s preventive health care program.
Signs of Pet Dental Problems
Classic “doggy breath” is not necessarily normal. Halitosis, or bad breath is the most common sign of dental disease. The major cause of halitosis is periodontal disease, which is an infection of the gums and potentially the other supporting structures of the teeth. Plaque builds up every day on the tooth surface including the at the gum line. Left in place, the plaque can mineralize, or harden, in less than 2 days, forming calculus or tartar. The continued build-up of tartar above and below the gum line can eventually produce an environment for certain types of bacteria that may be more destructive to the periodontal tissues and also produce a more noticeable odor.
Symptoms of dental disease include:
- Yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
- Red or swollen gum
- Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth or gums are touched
- Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
- Cracked, broken or ground-down teeth
- Loose of missing teeth
If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, please feel free to call at 406-255-0500 for an appointment to have your pet’s teeth evaluated.
During your pet’s exam, we will use grading system to help you better understand the level of disease in your pet’s mouth. Should we find any issues, such as evidence of gum or tooth erosion, gingivitis, or excessive plaque buildup, the doctor will discuss treatment options with you.
Your Pet’s Dental Cleaning Include:
- Physical examination prior to anesthesia
- General Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring
- Ultrasonic scaling of the teeth above and below the gum line
- Polishing of the teeth to delay future tartar accumulation
- Fluoride Treatment and Antibacterial Flushing of the oral cavity
Digital Dental X-rays
Our doctors are firm believers in being thorough. In order to provide the best dental care possible, we routinely perform dental radiography (x-rays). Digital dental radiographs are one of the most important diagnostic tools available. They allow imaging of the internal anatomy of teeth, root structure and the bone surrounding the roots so we can better determine the health of the affected teeth. Below is an image of our dental suite and a couple of intra-operative dental images taken with our digital x-ray.
Caring For Your Pet’s Teeth and Gums at Home
Brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most important procedure you can do to maintain good oral health. If performed regularly, brushing can dramatically decrease the incidence of gingivitis and can increase the interval between dental cleaning appointments. If brushing is not an option, there are several types of “chews” that can help reduce build-up. Ask us about these or look for treats certified by VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council).