Despite the fact that most of us tend to our oral hygiene daily and see our dentist for cleanings and exams, not much thought is given to dental care for our pets. The idea of brushing a dog or cat’s teeth may seem daunting to many of us, but neglecting our pets’ oral health can lead to serious consequences down the line.
Professional dental care is an essential step in your furry loved one’s wellness plan. Your team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital wants to make sure you know what is involved in a pet dental exam and why it is so important for your pet’s health.
Pet Dental Care
Dental care for pets is about more than just fresher breath and whiter teeth. Untreated dental disease can cause significant pain for your pet, tooth loss, infection, and even damage to vital organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. Consistent home and professional dental care are the keys to your pet’s ongoing good health, and can add two extra years to their life!
The Pet Dental Exam
Your pet’s professional dental care begins at their annual or biannual wellness exam. During the exam, your veterinarian will review your pet’s health history with you and ask if you have observed any symptoms of dental disease, such as bad breath, bleeding gums, loose teeth, or swelling of the mouth.
An oral examination will also be performed, where your veterinarian will be on the lookout for signs of dental disease like recessed gums, gingivitis, and broken teeth. Recommendations for additional care will be made based on the findings of this initial examination.
A Routine Cleaning
Just like us, our dogs and cats derive huge health benefits from regular professional cleanings. Unlike us, however, general anesthesia is a requirement in order to perform a safe and thorough cleaning and exam.
During a cleaning, you can expect the following for your pet:
- Dental scaling, both above and below the gum line, to remove accumulated tartar and plaque
- Polishing of each tooth to decrease grooves and ridges that can collect bacteria
- Probing all teeth for signs of decay
- Digital x-rays to get a more complete picture of the mouth and teeth, and to address any problem areas
- Tooth extraction or other oral surgery, if needed
Most pets require professional cleanings periodically throughout their lives. Your veterinarian will recommend dental cleanings as needed during your pet’s routine wellness examinations.
Dental care is truly one of the most important aspects of your pet’s overall health and wellness. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment for a pet dental exam, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the friendly staff at Oakhurst!