Dental health is a very important part of the overall health care of your pet. Dental problems may lead to other health problems, and can be caused by them. Teeth and gums of your pet, into must be checked least once a year by a veterinarian to monitor for early signs of a problem and to keep the mouth of our patients healthy.
What is veterinary dentistry and who is practicing it?
Veterinary dentistry involves cleansing, correcting, filling, removal and restoration of the teeth of your pet and all other aspects of care for oral health. These procedures must be performed by a veterinarian.
The process begins with an overview of the mouth of your pet by veterinarian. May be necessary radiographs to appreciate the jaws and the roots of the teeth below the gum line. Because most dental diseases appear under the gum where you can not notice them, a full dental cleaning and a thorough examination is performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning involves removal of tartar and plaque with a scaler and polishing similar to processes that your dentist regularly performs for you.
Oral health in dogs and cats
Teeth and gums of your pet, should be reviewed at least annually by a veterinarian to monitor for early signs of a problem and to keep the mouth of our patients healthy.
Make sure your pet will be reviewed sooner if you notice any of the following problems:
- Bad breath;
- Broken or shattered tooth;
- Additional tooth or retained milk tooth;
- Teeth that are discolored or covered with tartar;
- Abnormal chewing, salivation or release of food from the mouth;
- Decreased appetite or refusal of food;
- Pain in or around the mouth;
- Bleeding from the mouth;
- Swelling in the areas around the mouth.
Some animals can become irritable when they have dental problems and any change in behavior requires a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when inspection of the mouth of your pet, because of the pain it can bite you.
Causes of dental problems in animals
Although the carieses are less frequent in our patients than in humans, they have many of the same dental problems that may develop in humans:
- Broken tooth or root;
- Periodontal disease;
- Abscesses or infected teeth (Granulom);
- Cysts or tumors in the oral cavity;
- Malocclusion or incorrect position of teeth and bite;
- Fractures of the jaw;
- Defects of the palate.
Periodontal disease is the most common illness in dogs and cats – when your pet became 3 years old, he / she probably already has traces of early periodontal ache, it could deteriorate with age, if not take timely and effective measures against it. Early detection and treatment are important because advanced periodontal disease can lead to serious problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease affects not only the mouth cavity. Other health problems inherent in this issue include kidney problems, liver problems and changes in the heart muscle.
This disease starts with the plaque in which the deposited mineral salt convert into tartar. Tartar above the gum is easy to see and can be easily removed, but the plaque and calculus below the level of the gum is a big problem, and leads to the destruction of the jaw bone and tissue that connects the tooth to the jaw. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale from 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).
Treatment of periodontal disease includes the complete dental cleaning and X-rays, in order to assess its condition. Based on X-ray findings and a thorough examination after cleaning your teeth, your veterinarian will make recommendations based on the overall health of your pet and will provide options for tackling it.
Why dentistry requires anesthesia?
When you go to the dentist, you are aware of what procedures will be carried out and that they aim to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to reduce pain and discomfort and may ask you how you feel, make you understand the procedures and you will do everything to stand still. Your pet does not understand the benefits of dental procedures, he or she will respond by moving, trying to escape or even – to bite.
Anesthesia provides the ability to perform dental procedures without the distress and pain for our patients. In addition, anesthesia allows for better cleaning and reduces the risk of injury caused by the dental apparatus. If you need to make X-rays, your pet must stay very peaceful, which is practically impossible without anesthesia or deep sedation .
Although anesthesia is not without risk, it is now safer than ever and continues to improve, so the risks are now very low and outperform many of the benefits. Most animals can go home the same day of manipulation, although may seem slightly weary by the end of the day.
What about cleaning the tartar without anesthesia?
The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC), the European Veterinary Dental College (EVDC) and other organizations with similar status not recommend such a procedure which is risky for the health of the patient and the doctor does not allow for the cleaning of the tooth below the gum and contributes to the health of the patient, but only for its aesthetic being.
What can owners do at home for oral health of their pets?
The prevention of the most common oral diseases in the animals consists of daily removal of dental plaque and tartar, which are formed on the teeth. Regular brushing your pet is the single most effective thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy in the periods between professional cleanings at your vet, and may even eliminate the need for them! Daily brushing is the best option, but even several times a week it will significantly contribute to the reduction of dental problems. Most dogs accept brushing easy, but cats can be a little stubborn. With them the patience and the training are extremely important.
There are many pet products, which are offered under the pretext that improve dental health, but not all are effective. Consult your veterinarian for any dental product, a treat or a specialized diet that you choose for your pet and ask for his recommendations.