Good oral hygiene will add 4 to 5 years to your pet’s life. Feeding dental bones, “Nyla”bones, raw carrots and ice cubes will help keep your dog’s teeth clean. Feeding your cat and dog good quality dry food like the dental diets will also help. There are products that can be sprinkled on the food or added to the drinking water to help reduce plaque. None of these things replace the need or effectiveness of brushing your pets’ teeth. It takes about 2 to 3 days for plaque buildup to turn to tarter. Every day brushing is best, but brushing at least three times a week will help keep most plaque from turning to tarter.
When teeth become encrusted with tartar, gingivitis will form along the gum line. Gingivitis is infection and that infection can spread to the heart, liver and kidneys. If the teeth are not cleaned, Periodontal Disease will set in. The teeth loosen and recede from the gums. At this point the teeth are very painful to the dog or cat. Cats may become testy and not easily handled. They may not eat as much or groom themselves as thoroughly or as often. Dogs and cats may have bad breath. Dogs tend to not show pain, leading the owner to think everything is fine but all the while the dog is suffering.
Periodic cleaning is necessary to remove the tartar. Some breeds of dogs tend to have more dental problems than others. Some pets may need a dental cleaning every year or two. Others may be able to go 5 years or more before their teeth need to be cleaned.
A blood test is done to check your pet’s organ function before the cleaning. Your pet will have to be sedated for the cleaning. During the cleaning, encrusted tarter is broken away from the teeth. An ultrasonic scaler is then used to remove remaining tartar and clean under the gum line where tartar begins. After the teeth are cleaned the teeth and gums are examined and the gum line around each tooth is probed and checked for gum recession. Digital dental X-Rays are taken of all the teeth. Dental X-Rays enable us to see the majority of the tooth that is hidden from view under the gumline.
If any teeth need to be extracted, oral surgery is performed. Growths on the gums are also surgically removed if necessary. The teeth are then polished and fluoride is applied. Your pet is sent home on antibiotics to clear up any infection present or to prevent infection from occurring while the mouth heals.