Dental Health

By March 12, 2021 March 17th, 2021 Uncategorized

Your Pet’s Dental Health Matters to Us

Dental care plays an important role in your pet’s overall health, so we’re sharing some important information about why we make dental care a priority at Watzin Veterinary Clinic.

Did you know that by 3 years of age, most dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease (also called gum or dental disease)? Periodontal disease can cause other potential health problems—and not just in a pet’s mouth. Besides gum recession, infection, and tooth loss, periodontal disease can cause serious changes in the heart, kidneys, and liver.

Periodontal Disease in Pets

Plaque forms on teeth (pet and human alike) constantly. When it’s not removed regularly (through brushing), it changes into hardened tartar, which can’t be brushed away. Plaque continues to form on top of the tartar.

Plaque changes into hardened tartar within about 24 hours.

Eventually, if these layers of bacteria-laden tartar aren’t removed through a professional veterinary cleaning, the pet will end up with inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which will progress to infection and loss of tooth support (advanced periodontal disease).

When pets don’t receive regular dental care, they may need more than just a cleaning. Dental extractions may be required to remove infected teeth and make a pet’s mouth healthy again.

Signs of Dental Trouble in Pets

Contact your Watzin veterinarian if you notice:

  • Bad breath
  • Brown or yellow teeth
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Reluctance or refusal to eat
  • Dropping food from the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Sneezing

Bad breath in pets isn’t normal. It’s almost always a sign of oral issues.

Steps to Keep Your Pet’s Mouth Healthy

  1. Schedule a Professional Dental Exam

Bringing your pet in for regular veterinary dental exams and cleanings is the first step to achieving better dental health for your dog or cat.

At Watzin Veterinary Clinic, we use dental radiographs (x-rays) to get a true picture of what your pet’s teeth look like under the gums—not just on the surface. We can only assess around 40% of a dog or cat’s teeth by just looking at them. We use digital x-rays to show us what might be lurking unseen, such as painful root disease, tooth resorption, or the extent of a cracked tooth. Digital oral x-rays can only be performed under anesthesia to properly treat your pet.

We take every precaution to ensure that all dental cleanings and other dentistry procedures are as safe as possible, starting with performing preanesthetic bloodwork and an electrocardiogram (ECG) on the morning of your pet’s procedure to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. We also actively monitor your pet during and after the procedure to make sure all vital signs stay within normal ranges, similar to protocols that are used when people undergo anesthesia.

During a dental cleaning, your Watzin veterinarian or registered veterinary technician will remove built-up plaque and tartar, then polish your pet’s teeth to smooth the surface of the teeth, which can help slow the future buildup of tartar.

If your pet needs any additional dental care, such as extractions, we will make sure you understand what needs to be done and why. We also provide pain medication as needed.

To learn more about what we do during pet dentistry procedures, click here.

  1. Make Home Care a Priority

You play an essential role in your pet’s dental health. Brushing your pet’s teeth is one of the most important ways you can help keep periodontal disease at bay.

Never use human toothpaste in pets! It contains ingredients that can make your pet sick.

Although daily brushing is ideal, we understand that it may not always be possible. Fortunately, you have a number of dental products to choose from that can also help control plaque and tartar buildup in your pet:

  • Special dental diets and enzymatic chews
  • Dental toys
  • Oral rinses and sprays
  • Drinking water additives

Not all dental products are created equal. Look for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance, and ask us what products we recommend.

By being proactive about dental care, you can help protect your pet’s overall health.

Schedule Your Pet’s Dental Exam Today

We recommend that pets visit us at least once a year for a dental evaluation. We’ll examine your pet’s teeth and gums and let you know what we recommend to maintain or improve your pet’s oral health. Call us to book an appointment today!


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A. M. is a LifeLearn author.

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