Despite the fact that we brush, floss, and see our dentist on a regular basis, not much thought is usually given to our pet’s teeth. After all, who wants to look in there with all those sharp fangs? But pet dental health is one of the easiest and most effective ways to give your pet a lifetime of good health, and much better breath!
By the time they are 4 years of age, 85% of pets have some form of dental disease – whether it be gingivitis or periodontitis. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Regular pet dental exams, professional dental cleanings, and at home care can go far toward preventing dental problems and discomfort in pets.
Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital brings you the basics of pet dental exams, here. And we’re looking forward to helping give your pet a lifetime of good oral health.
Pet Dental Exams Decoded
Pet dental exams are the first step in preventing dental disease. More than foul breath, dental disease can cause significant pain for your pet, including bleeding, inflamed gums, fractured teeth, and even damage to the heart, liver and kidneys.
Like any physical exam, pet dental exams begins with a medical history. Your veterinarian will ask about your pet’s breath, any trouble eating, drooling, or pawing at the mouth – any of which could signal dental disease.
Your veterinarian will examine your pet’s mouth and throat for any swelling or abnormalities of the lips and tongue. Your pet’s gums and teeth will be inspected and any bleeding, redness, or swollen gums noted.
Recommendations will then be given for follow up care once the initial evaluation is completed. Most of the time, these aspects of a dental exam can be performed without sedation. But for a complete evaluation of all the internal structures of the teeth, pet dental exams must be continued under anesthesia.
A Professional Dental Cleaning
Just like us, pets need dental cleanings regularly in order to get all the benefits of a healthy mouth. Since we need your pet’s full cooperation, general anesthesia is necessary for a safe and effective examination and cleaning.
During your pet’s dental exam under anesthesia, we will provide the following:
- Thorough evaluation of each tooth, including probing under the gumline for deep pockets
- Digital radiographs of any problem teeth, to check for infection and/ or root and bone damage
- Charting of all the teeth to record any areas to watch
- A complete and thorough cleaning and polishing to remove plaque and tartar, and to smooth any surfaces that might collect bacteria
Benefits of A Pet Dental Exam
Pets can benefit from dental exams at any stage of life. In puppy and kitten-hood, we will evaluate baby teeth and adult teeth to ensure adult teeth are coming in normally. Gentle handling of a puppy’s or kitten’s mouth during exams helps keep these exams less stressful for pets in the future.
Older pets also need dental exams to prevent disease and catch and treat any small problems before they become more advanced. This early detection of disease helps prevent discomfort for your pet and saves you money in the long run.
At Home Dental Care
After your pet’s exam, we’ll talk to you about how to care for your pet’s teeth at home in between cleanings. Tooth brushing, dental diets, or dental chews may be recommended to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. A dental exam is also a wonderful time to learn how to brush your pet’s teeth at home with one of our skilled technicians teaching you.
Regular dental care truly is one of the best ways to ensure a good quality of life for your pet. Please ask us if you have any questions, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment for your pet’s dental exam.