You are a responsible pet owner and you take good care of your pet - but do you always remember to take care of your pet's teeth?
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 your pet's well-being and general health.
Regular dental check-ups at Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital, combined with good dental hygiene at home, can increase your pet's health and vitality, and help ensure they lead the best life possible.
If left untreated, dental disease can not only be painful and inhibit proper nutrition, but can also lead to serious systemic issues that may threaten your pet's overall health before symptoms are noticeable. For those reasons, our Inver Grove Heights veterinary team strongly considers dental care an important piece of your dog or cat's preventive health care program.
Protecting Your Pet's Dental Health
Just like in humans, infection and inflammation of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth are caused by bacteria present in plaque and tartar. When tartar builds up on your pet's teeth, it can lead to bad breath, bleeding, receding gums, and even eventual tooth loss.
The doctors and their staff at Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital believe that the centerpiece of good dental care is a complete oral exam followed by a thorough cleaning designed to remove plaque and slow its buildup.
At Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital, your pet's dental appointment includes:
- Cleanings under anesthesia
- Diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease
- Tooth extractions
Should we find any issues, such as evidence of gum or tooth erosion, gingivitis, or excessive plaque buildup, we will discuss this with you and offer treatment options. We are experienced dental practitioners and are capable of offering a number of dental procedures and oral surgeries.
Caring for Your Pet's Teeth and Gums at Home
You can prevent serious dental problems by making sure your pet receives dental exams at the time of each vaccination, again at six months of age, and then annually. In between visits to your Inver Grove Heights veterinarian, check your pet's teeth regularly for signs of problems. Brushing your pet's teeth is the single most important procedure you can do to maintain good oral health. If performed regularly, brushing dramatically decreases the incidence of gingivitis and can increase the interval between teeth cleaning appointments.
If you are unsure of how to brush your pet's teeth, please ask a staff member at Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital for instructions.
Signs of Pet Dental Problems
Halitosis, or bad breath, is the most common sign of dental disease. Classic "doggy breath" is not necessarily normal. The major cause of halitosis is periodontal disease. This 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 at the gum line.
Left in place, the plaque can mineralize, or harden, in less than two days, forming calculus or tartar. The continued buildup of tartar above and below the gum line can produce an environment for certain types of bacteria that may be more destructive to the periodontal tissues and produce a more noticeable odor. Other symptoms of dental disease include:
- A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
- Red and swollen gums
- Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth or gums are touched
- Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
- Loose or missing teeth
For more information on Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital's pet dental services, please send us an email or call (651) 451-4404.