Pet Dental Services:
Caring for Canines, Incisors, Molars & More!
Pet owners are often surprised to learn that oral disease is the most common problem affecting cats and dogs. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 70% of felines and 80% of canines exhibit symptoms by the time they turn 3 years old. If left untreated, infections in the mouth can cause pain and may spread through a pet's bloodstream, potentially causing severe damage to the kidneys, liver, and heart.
At Sharon Lakes Animal Hospital, we work closely with our clients to promote good oral health in our pet patients. At each wellness appointment, our veterinarians will examine your pet's mouth, teeth, and gums to ensure that all is well. In between exams, if a pet patient is brought in to see us because he or she is not eating, the mouth is one of the first areas we will check. A fractured tooth or some other painful dental condition could be the cause.
Potential Trouble Signs
Just as with other pet health conditions, the earlier dental disease is detected and addressed, the better. Preventing infection and potential extraction is better for a pet's overall health and comfort, as well the owner's finances. Following are some symptoms that could indicate your pet has dental disease:
- Awful breath - this is frequently an early sign
- Yellowish-brown crust of plaque on tooth surfaces near the gum line
- Swollen, red gums
- Bleeding or pain when the pet is eating or when his or her mouth or gums are touched
- Decrease in appetite or difficulty eating
- Teeth are loose or missing
Pet Dental Cleanings
Once your pet's mouth has been examined, our veterinarians will rate his or her level of dental disease and suggest appropriate care. We may recommend a cat or dog teeth cleaning. For this procedure, your pet will be anesthetized so the veterinarian can more fully examine the entire oral cavity, probing around and between the teeth. We will scale the teeth to remove tartar and plaque build-up and polish them to smooth the enamel. In addition, because 60% of the tooth is below the gum line, we may take a digital dental X-ray to ensure there aren't any problems there or in other locations not visible to the human eye.
We realize that many pet owners have concerns about anesthesia. We have many safety measures in place with regard to anesthesia to ensure your pet's well-being. And at Sharon Lakes Animal Hospital, dental cleaning procedures always include two people - a veterinarian and a technician - so one team member is always monitoring your pet's vital signs. In addition, because we have the same digital X-ray technology human dentists use, we are able to quickly and accurately diagnose your pet's condition and determine the most appropriate next steps. This enables us to reduce the amount of time he or she must be anesthetized.
Regardless of the level of cleaning and care required, you will be provided with pictures of your pet's teeth taken before and after each pet dental procedure so that you can see what has been done.
While we are happy to provide quality veterinary dentistry services, we would prefer to keep them to a minimum for our pet patients. Thankfully, a variety of helpful products have emerged in recent years to promote cat and dog dental health. These range from special cat treats and gels that can be put on a pet's teeth, to toothpastes and rawhide chews with enzymatic cleaners for dogs. There is also a clear, flavorless oral pet hygiene rinse that may be placed in your pet's water. For those pets that are especially prone to dental disease, there is prescription dental food available.
Our veterinarians are happy to speak with you about the many pet dental care products available and which ones might be best for your pet. Our overall goal is to prevent your pet's dental problems from affecting his or her overall health or quality of life.