Don’t turn your nose to your furry companion’s bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk. Not only can a dental cleaning help provide your pet with clean and fresh breath it can also help add more years to their lives. February is National Pet Dental Health Month to help address the significance of oral health care for pets. This month we are encouraging owners to have their pets seen either by a doctor if it is your 1st visit with us, or scheduled time with our dental technicians to learn more about your pet’s oral care and to schedule them up for a cleaning. If your scheduled a dental in the month of February we are offering 10% off! Below is more general pet oral information as well as the importance of a proper dental care.
As food particles, saliva, and bacteria collect on the dental surface, they form a soft plaque. Within 24-48 hours, however, the plaque begins to solidify intothe mineralized tarter. Tarter firmly adheres to the teeth and harbors even more bacteria, resulting in an active inflammation of the gums called gingivitis.
The large amounts of bacteria in the mouth can also become a source of infection for the rest of the body. Each time the animal breathes and swallows, the bacteria are shed into the lungs, heart, kidneys, etc., potentially seeding further organ disease.
Any damage to the tooth’s surrounding gum and supportive bone tissues is considered periodontal disease. In Stages 1 and 2 of periodontal disease, the gums have mild to moderate gingivitis. The gingiva begins to recede away from the tooth surface and halitosis (bad breath) may already become noticeable. These changes are still reversible with appropriate treatment.
As the periodontal tissue infection progresses, the deep tissue adhesions and bone react and reabsorb. These arepermanent changes in which the stability between the tooth root and the bone is lost. Painful abscesses at the root tip may develop once the integrity of the periodontum has been lost. Eventually the tooth may even fall out. These patients classify with Stages 3 or 4 periodontal diseases.
One significant concern for cats includes tooth resorbtion. Unknown if they result from periodontal disease or another autoimmune process, these cavity-like defects in the tooth are usually progressive and very painful. These teeth generally should be extracted. Some cases are so severe they may require full mouth extractions.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 85 percent of dogs and cats show signs of oral disease by age four. The trouble begins when food particles and bacteria build up in the mouth to form plaque and tartar, which leads to reversible gingivitis. Gingivitis, if ignored, will progress to periodontal disease. Irreversible periodontal disease leads to tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums and, in severe cases, tooth loss. These infections usually are treatable when caught at an early stage. However, if they are not caught in time, they can cause serious organ damage and even death if left untreated.
A thorough dental cleaning procedure involves literally scraping tarter from the teeth and under the gum lining. At that time, the dental technician will also examine all dental, gingival, and oral surfaces, looking for tooth decay, fractures, gingival pockets, and abnormal growths. Dental radiographs may be necessary to assess the root and bone structure. A final polishing will smooth the grooves on the teeth to help delay tarter recurrence.
If you have any more questions or would like to set up an appointment for a dental exam please contact the front desk at 719-593-1336!