How often do you provide dental care for your cat or dog? Most people visit their dentists every six months or so and the reality is that pets also develop the same dental conditions and illnesses developed by humans. Hence, this shows that pets also deserve regular dental care to ensure their overall health is intact.
It is important that you take your pet to a veterinarian for a dental check at least once a year. This will help to keep your pet’s mouth healthy and to check for early signs of dental problems. Just like in humans, taking care of your pet’s gums and teeth are crucial to maintaining good dental health.
Common Dental Health Conditions
- Dental Wear and Attrition is the physical wear of your pets teeth as a result of heavy chewing, biting, etc. The crown surfaces become smooth and flat, you may even notice a brown spot in the center of the tooth. That brown spot is called dentin. The dentin is formed to protect the teeth. These teeth may have exposed pulp canals susceptible to pain and infection. This may cause the pulp to become inflamed and lead to tooth discoloration, and tooth death.
- Periodontal gum disease is one of the biggest threats to your pet’s dental health. It may cause serious harm to your pet’s organs. The periodontal gum disease starts developing when bacteria piles up on your pet’s gum line. It irritates the animal’s gums by forming plaque, which later hardens and calcifies. Bacteria then begins to build up at the tooth’s root, which separates the teeth from the gums over time. The pet can experience an inability to eat due to extreme pain. The condition can worsen if the pet is left untreated.
- Trauma is a common cause of dental emergencies. Trauma includes fractures, foreign bodies, lacerations or even traumatic events to the jaw. The most common of these is fractured teeth. Fractured teeth range from a chip on the tooth to canal exposure. This makes the tooth sensitive and can impact the surrounding teeth, causing your pet to be in pain.
National Pet Dental Health Month
February is one of the special months that all pet parents should embrace. Why? It is the National Pet Dental Health Month. Just like human beings, pets also need special treatment and care. Most dogs and cats often get affected by an oral disease by age 3. Yes, oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets.
Preventing Dental Issues
It is recommended that you take your pet to a vet once a year for a dental exam and cleaning. Some effective ways for preventing dental issues include:
- Physical exam. An exam will be carried out on your pet to determine if he or she is healthy enough to undergo the anesthesia procedure (performed during teeth cleaning). Your pet’s age, medical history and other factors may determine if he or she is healthy enough to undergo x-rays, as well as urine and blood tests.
- Exam under anesthesia. With the help of anesthesia, your pet will be temporarily immobilized. The veterinary technician will keep a close eye on all vital signs with state of the art monitoring equipment.
- Dental Prophylaxis. The veterinarian will use hand instruments along with ultrasonic cleaning tools in order to remove tartar and plaque from your pet’s teeth, especially along the roots and gum line.
- Polishing. The vet will smooth and even out the surface of your cat or dog’s teeth using a low-speed hand tool.
- Fluoride. This liquid is very important because it is used to reduce any pain or discomfort and to harden enamel. It is brushed onto your pet’s teeth for a few minutes.
Brushing your pet’s teeth
Many pet owners are often left wondering whether they should brush their pet’s teeth or not. Did you know that brushing your pet’s teeth is the first step towards curbing any serious dental health problems? Contact Weddington Animal Hospital if you have questions about your pet’s dental health or to schedule a wellness appointment today.