It’s February, which means it is National Pet Dental Health Month! Dental health is an important part of overall health, and not taking care of your pet’s teeth and gums can lead to serious health problems. While people have to go to the doctor and the dentist separately, as your vet, we provide excellent dental care for your pet in the same office as they get their exceptional health care.
Dogs tend to get fractured teeth, tooth root abscesses (with or without tooth fracture) and periodontal (gum) disease. The normal treatment for fractured teeth and tooth root abscesses is extraction (removing) the affected teeth by your veterinarian.
Tooth decay, also called periodontal disease, is what is seen most commonly in dogs. It is usually progressive over time and the progression depends on several things, including genetic factors, the dental care the dog receives at home, and whether the dog receives regular dental care at vet visits. Teeth that are severely affected will often be loose and the tissues surrounding the tooth will most likely be infected. Less affected teeth will have pockets of infection under the gum line which can’t be seen without having a dental exam under anesthesia. The infection and the inflammation that it creates are generally chronic over months to years and are detrimental to the overall health of the dog, so treating the dog as early as possible will provide the best possible outcome.
When we see patients for an anesthetized dental exam and cleaning (and other procedures depending on what we find), we do digital x-rays to check for bone loss around the teeth as well as the roots and gums, and we take a dental probe and trace it around the base of each tooth checking for loose gum tissue and pockets that run alongside the root of the tooth. Usually, teeth that are severely affected are extracted. Teeth that are less affected can sometimes be cleaned, the pocket flushed out and an antibiotic gel will be applied into the pocket.
We also use a specially formulated veterinary dental sealant called Sanos. Applied at the end of a professional dental clean, it will extend the benefits of the clean by a minimum of six months.
The best way to prevent periodontal disease for your dog is regular teeth cleaning at home along with regular check-ups during your pet wellness visits.
Our clinics offer a range of products you can use at home to keep your dog’s mouth healthy! Dental chews are popular among owners and dogs alike and can help keep teeth clean and disease-free. We also offer dental wipes, dental flakes, water additives, and toothbrush/toothpaste sets, depending on your pet’s specific needs.
If you notice anything unusual in your dog’s mouth, make an appointment with us as soon as possible. We want all our patients to smile bright!