Canine Dental Care
Dental Health is Doggone Important!
Dental Health is Whole Body Health. Dental care is vital to the overall well-being and general health of our canine companions. Periodontal disease is one of the most common health conditions that affect dogs. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), by three years of age over 70% of dogs have signs of periodontal disease. Oral health is not just about keeping “doggie breath” at bay, as periodontal disease progresses it allows harmful bacteria to spread into your dog’s body. Kidney, liver, and heart health can all be profoundly affected by periodontal disease. A healthy mouth makes for a healthy dog. Our veterinary team will examine your pup’s mouth as a part of their routine visit and make recommendations based on what they find. Generally speaking, we recommend annual dental cleanings for adult dogs, but this can vary based on the individual dog and the amount of home dental care done.
Regular dental exams and cleanings are your dog’s best line of defense against periodontal disease and the harm it can do, but there are some essential things you can do at home to promote and protect your pet’s oral health. Regularly brushing your pup’s teeth will help keep them healthy and decrease the inflammation we need to address at regular professional dental cleanings. Introduce brushing very slowly—begin by just allowing your dog to lick the toothpaste off the toothbrush for the first few sessions. Use a toothpaste and brush designed for pets—toothpaste for dogs is available in flavors like beef, malt, and bacon. Yum! For more details (including a video about home dental care), check out the AMVA’s pet dental care website. You can also use water additives, dental treats, and chew toys to help keep your dog’s teeth clean, but make sure they’re appropriate. The Veterinary Oral Health Council is a good resource for oral care products. Dogs love to chew on hard objects but if they are too hard they can cause broken teeth. Things like hooves or antlers should never be given to a dog to chew on, as they can cause tooth damage and dangerous GI blockages.
During your pup’s dental procedure, the veterinarian will do a tooth-by-tooth examination and perform full mouth radiographs (x-rays). Our high-quality digital X-ray equipment enables our veterinarians to detect and address any issues before they become severe. After a thorough examination of both above and below the gum line, we will be able to determine if any problems are present in the mouth. This will allow us to design a treatment plan to care for any issues that were found. A thorough cleaning of the teeth will be done with an ultrasonic scaler and then the teeth will be polished—just like when you visit the dentist! General anesthesia is necessary for a dental procedure to allow for proper assessment, cleaning, and polishing of your dog’s teeth. The AVMA does not recommend “anesthesia-free” dental procedures.
Do you have any questions or would like to schedule your dog’s dental cleaning? Give us a call today at (214) 826-4800.