Pet Dental Care

Your pet's world revolves around its mouth.

Dental hygiene is a very important component of your pet's overall health. Dental disease, caused by tartar buildup, affect liver and heart function, digestion and general comfort level, and it can cause infection, as bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream from the gums and can travel throughout the rest of the body.

We recommend yearly dental exams for most pets, and we have a state-of-the-art dental X-ray machine that helps us determine the best course of action for your pet's teeth. Our excellent dental cleaning tools and skilled professionals can help treat dental disease and prevent it from occurring in the first place. Clean teeth won't just benefit your pet. Abnormal breath, a very common sign of dental disease, isn't very pleasant for the owner either!

Teeth Cleaning / Dental or Dental Prophylaxis or Dental Prophylaxis

Wild canid and felid species are not programmed to show any signs of weakness. If they do, they are moved down the ladder of seniority and singled out by predators. Our dogs and cats behave in the same manner. They do not show obvious signs when suffering from anything. They do not show signs of illness when suffering from dental disease in particular. Sadly, they do not know anything they can do about their dental health, so they just live with it. The signs of pain come on very gradually and the owners frequently associate the pet's behavior with 'just getting older'. Dental disease is a very common reason for a pet to act older.

Historical Perspective
For years, the standard of care in veterinary dentistry was to remove the calculus visible below the gum line (scraping) and extract any teeth with increased mobility. This level of care fails to address most painful but treatable pathologies present in your pet's mouth. Teeth with increased mobility have likely been diseased for years! It is much better to find and treat dental pathology before extraction is required.

Medical implications
Approximately 80% of dogs and cats have periodontal disease by 3 years of age. 50% of canine and feline patients over 5 years of age have at least one painful dental problem. Periodontal disease has been shown to be associated with heart, liver and kidney functions pathology. Prevention is the better medicine. When we proactively look for and treat dental pathologies, the pets feel better, act normal and relate better to their owner. The owner benefits from interacting with a pet that acts normal because they are not in pain, their breath is not so offensive and as a result, the human-animal bond stays strong.

When do we recommend dental cleaning?
The average dental cleaning in a dog or cat is like cleaning a person's teeth after they did not brush their teeth for a few years! Even if your pet is eating normally, that is not a good enough reason to delay getting their teeth cleaned. The truth is, they will eat despite having severe dental disease and in many circumstances, swallow their food instead of chewing it first. They have teeth for a reason! Ideally pets should get their teeth cleaned every year.

Common indications for dental treatment:
• Gingivitis & red stripe along the gum line
•Abnormal breath & due to pathogenic anaerobic bacteria
•Any indication of oral discomfort & dropping food, lack of chewing, head shy
•Any prolonged Nasal discharge
•Epistaxis & bloody discharge from nostrils
•Oral/facial swelling or draining tract
•Discolored teeth
•Fractured teeth with exposed dentin and/or pulp tissue
•Malocclusion resulting in trauma to oral soft tissues or dental structures
•Resporative lesions (especially common in feline patients)
•Orthodontic problems in young patients with deciduous dentition

Dental prophylaxis
At Liberty Animal Hospital, your pet is fully anesthetized for dental procedures, as they tend not to listen when we say 'Open up and say AHHH!' All teeth are scaled with an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the crown of the tooth as well as from underneath the gum line. We take full mouth x-rays to assess dental health underneath the gums. This is especially important because even if a tooth looks normal, it may be hiding disease under the gum line that we would not be able to see without x-rays. At this point, we chart the teeth to note what teeth are diseased and may need to be extracted to better the dental health of your pet going forward. After any diseased teeth are removed, we polish all of the teeth to remove any fine marks that may be left by the ultrasonic scaler. Your pet may need to go home on antibiotics to prevent infection, and also may need to go home with some pain medications if there were extractions performed.

At Liberty Animal Hospital, our veterinarian will discuss with you the treatment option that best fits the lifestyle of your pet, along with other factors that will help in recovery and early return to function.

Pet Dental Health Month Dog with Moderate Dental Tartar Periodontal Disease

▲ Dog Teeth Cleaning: Dog with Moderate Dental Tartar Periodontal Disease

Healthy mouth after dental

▲ Dog Teeth Cleaning: After, their teeth are clean and they have healthy breath.