Annual dental exams and cleanings are recommended to protect your pet from many health problems and help them maintain a healthy and clean mouth.
Studies show that 50% of all dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. That number jumps to 80% in pets that are 3 years of age or older. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause infection, pain, and tooth loss over time. It can also lead to serious health problems like microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys. Because of this, we recommend an annual veterinary dental healthcare examination for all pets.
Many health problems start in the mouth. Plaque, tartar, periodontal disease, and infected teeth serve as a source of inflammation and infection for the rest of the body.
Dental disease is one of the most common problems that we see in dogs and cats. It can cause drooling, reluctance to eat, swelling, bad breath, redness of the gums, loose teeth and tooth discoloration.
Dental issues and dental related diseases can easily be prevented by visiting our veterinarians regularly for dental examinations and cleanings. We take a comprehensive approach to dental care including dental health assessment, treatment, and prevention.
Dog and cat dental cleanings are very similar to human dental cleanings, except that we are required to use anesthesia to properly and safely examine and clean the teeth. After the cleaning, our veterinarians perform a thorough oral exam and check for signs of disease like gum loss, root exposure, or pockets around the root.
We make every effort to save teeth that we feel have a chance to be successfully treated. In many circumstances, however, periodontal disease is so advanced that treatment without extraction is unsuccessful. We only extract teeth that in the doctor's opinion are beyond saving.
Periodontal disease affects the gums and tissue around your pet’s teeth, and can damage your pet’s jaw if left untreated. The cause of this disease is a buildup of plaque, which is a bacterial film that accumulates on the teeth. Plaque in pets is the same as plaque found in humans – so remember to brush your teeth!
When the bacteria in plaque dies, it can harden on the teeth, which creates more surfaces for new plaque to cling to and accumulate. In the early stages of periodontal disease, vigorous brushing or encouraging your pets to chew on certain toys or hard foods can dislodge plaque buildup.
However, if left on the teeth for too long, plaque can spread and accumulate below the gum line where it can cause infection of the tissues surrounding your pet’s teeth. At this stage, professional cleaning is the only way to get rid of plaque buildup.
Stage 1: Gingivitis – Gums along the teeth are inflamed and swollen and plaque covers the teeth.
Stage 2: Early Periodontitis – All gums are inflamed and swollen. You pet might be experiencing pain and bad breath.
Stage 3: Moderate Periodontitis – Gums are very red and bleeding, likely being destroyed by infection and tartar. Your pet’s sore mouth may affect their eating and other behaviors. Their breath is smelly.
Stage 4: Advanced Periodontitis – Bacterial infections destroy the gums, teeth, and bone. Bacteria can spread through the entire body via the blood stream, ultimately damaging the kidneys, liver, and heart.
As you can see from the stages illustrated above, periodontal disease can be extremely serious if left untreated.
However, if we think your pet’s case is more advanced, we will likely refer you to one of our sister clinics, which have the advanced equipment and expertise to handle severe cases of periodontal disease. Additionally, if your pet is suffering from other conditions that affect their oral health, our sister clinics will be able to help. We thoroughly vet all of our partner clinics so that you can be sure you’re getting the same high standard of care that you’re used to receiving at The KAAWS Clinic.