It’s February! That means many things to many people, but let me tell you what it means for your pets. It’s Dental Health Month!! Yay!!!!!! Wait, you’re not excited about your pet’s dental health?? Why on earth not?!?! Dental health is so critical to your pet’s wellbeing! Here, let me drop some knowledge on the subject, so you can be as excited as I am!
Dental disease, including plaque, tartar, calculus, cavities, tooth root abscesses, and periodontal disease, can lead to kidney, heart, and liver disease, just like in people. A healthy mouth leads to a healthy body!
Approximately 3 out of 4 dogs over the age of 3 years old have some form of periodontal (tooth root and surrounding gums) disease, which can cause enough pain and inflammation to affect Fido’s behavior and eating habits. Is your pet eating slower than usual? Could be a painful mouth. Is your pet eating faster that usual? Could be a painful mouth. Is your pet eating on only one side of his mouth? Could be a painful mouth.
“Dog Breath” is not something that is a rite of passage—it’s actually a sign of disease! Bad breath in your cat or dog is usually the first sign of dental disease, and should not be ignored! Don’t cover it up with expensive dog treats that are basically breath mints, let a veterinarian get to the root of the cause.
When we clean your pet’s teeth, it’s using the same techniques, tools, and products that your human dentist uses. We scale off tartar and plaque, check the gums for pockets and root exposure, take dental radiographs, polish with a baking soda-based polish, and give a fluoride treatment, just like you get at your dentist!
Most pets won’t just open up and say “aaaahhhh” for us, so sedation and anesthesia is a critical part of veterinary dentistry. This keeps both patient and doctor safe, and makes the cleaning go much faster and be more thorough. Most veterinarians will do full bloodwork before a dental, to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for the anesthesia and see if there are any underlying health issues that could be caused by dental disease or some other problem. Some clinics/practices offer “awake dentals”, but in my personal opinion I don’t think that is a very safe or effective method for most patients.
And to further seal the deal, here are some before and after photos of my patients when they get their teeth cleaned! Every one of them was fully awake and eating their dry kibble by dinner time on the same day.
Show me your teeth (just tell me when)/Show me your teeth (open your mouth boy)/Show me your teeth (show me whatcha got)/Show me your teeth teeth, teeth, teeth – Lady Gaga
(A fitting artist for today’s post, as it is Dr. John‘s birthday, and all who know him know how much he loved Lady Googoo Gaga.)
Grace and Peace,