All veterinarians agree that by the age of 3 most pets have some kind of dental disease present. Most of this disease is present underneath the gum line that we can’t see. This is why home dental care and annual teeth cleanings are so important. The cleaner your pets mouth, the happier and longer they may live.
Just as with humans dogs and cats have “baby teeth” often called deciduous teeth. They will also fall out just the same. Dogs have 28 deciduous teeth and will have 42 adult teeth. Cats have 26 deciduous teeth and will have 30 adult teeth. It is important to get in the habit of training your pet to have their teeth brushed daily to keep these teeth as healthy as possible. This will also give you an idea of what the inside of your pets mouth looks like and may help you notice any abnormalities that may occur.
In some cases deciduous teeth don’t fall out. These teeth are called “retained teeth”. Retained teeth most often occur with both the upper and lower canines. Although any tooth can be retained. If a retained tooth is seen, it should be addressed right away. Deciduous teeth are more fragile than adult teeth because they are not meant to stay in the mouth, which means, they can fracture a lot easier and cause pain to your pet. Retained teeth can cause the adult tooth to grow in in the wrong place and cause an abnormal bite when the pet gets older. Plus, that gives any bacteria, food, and debris another place to build up, which could cause abscessing of teeth and/or periodontal disease. Retained deciduous teeth need to be surgically extracted to avoid any potential dental problems. If the retained tooth is dealt with in a timely manner, no ill effects will ever be noticed.
Daily brushing and annual dental cleanings is the gold standard of care. Here at Dublin Animal Hospital we offer:
- FREE dental consults with a dental technician
- Pre-anesthetic blood screenings
- Complete oral exam under anesthesia
- Probing and charting of all teeth
- Intravenous fluid therapy
- Up to date equipment for constant maintenance and monitoring of vital signs
- Ultrasound scaling of teeth, including underneath the gum line
- Polishing teeth
- Full mouth digital radiographs
- FREE post cleaning exams with a dental technician
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & CONCERNS
How can I brush my pet’s teeth?
It is usually a very easy and fun procedure. There are handouts included in this packet that give you step by step instructions to make brushing a safe and fun part of your daily routine. A soft-bristled, or finger toothbrush and pet friendly tooth paste should be used. Human toothpaste should not be used because they contain ingredients that can be irritating to your pets digestive tract. Samples can be obtained here
HOW OFTEN DOES MY PET NEED TO HAVE THEIR TEETH CLEANED BY THE VETERINARIAN?
You should examine your pet’s teeth monthly for accumulation of yellow or brown material at the area where the tooth meets the gum line especially of the cheek teeth (teeth in the back of the mouth) and canines. Once accumulation is noticed, please contact your dental technician to get a cleaning scheduled
CAN I JUST TAKE MY FINGERNAIL OR A DENTAL SCALER TO REMOVE THE CALCULUS?
No. by removing calculus from just the crown of the tooth (the visible portion) you are not removing the bacteria that cause disease from below the gum line. In order to thoroughly help your pet, small instruments are needed to remove the plaque/calculus from below the gum line.
DO YOU HAVE TO USE ANESTHESIA TO CLEAN MY PET’S TEETH?
Yes. Anesthesia is necessary when performing a professional teeth cleaning. Anesthesia provides four important functions:
- Immobilization in order to clean below the gum line
- Pain control (if extractions are needed)
- Gives us the ability to obtain full mouth digital radiographs or your pets teeth to see exactly what the roots of the teeth look like
- The ability to place an tube into the windpipe so bacterial products/debris do not enter the respiratory system
I AM CONCERNED ABOUT THE ANESTHESIA. IS IT SAFE?
We take every effort to provide safe anesthesia. We use anesthetic gas, which metabolizes quickly. Pre-anesthetic blood screenings are done to ensure we use the correct protocol for your pet and patients are monitored while anesthetized both visibly and with similar monitoring devices used in human hospitals
WHAT CAN BE DONE IF MY PET HAS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal disease occurs when tooth support structures are affected by infection. In the beginning stages cleaning above and below the gum line will help restore periodontal health. In advanced stages, extraction are performed
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FIX A BROKEN TOOTH?
If your pet breaks a tooth, if the pulp chamber (the inside portion of the tooth where the nerve and blood supply live) is exposed, extraction of the tooth is preferred. If the pulp chamber is not exposed, a bonded sealant can be applied to the fracture site to help protect the exposed portion.
WHAT ARE CAT CAVITIES?
Many cats get painful lesions at the gum line that invade teeth and are referred to as tooth resorptions. Unfortunately, we do not know the cause of this and the most effective treatment involves extraction of the affected tooth
Our skilled team of doctors and dental technicians are determined to bring you and your pet the best possible dental care available in dental practice. Because each mouth is unique, the first step is getting a consult with one of our dental technicians. During this free exam, we will be able to answer any questions you may have, point out any concerns, provide you with an estimate, and discuss pre-anesthetic blood work