Why Dogs and Cats Need Comprehensive Pet Dental Care
Dental disease isn’t just a human problem. The American Veterinary Dental College estimates that 70-80% of dogs and cats in the United States over age 3 have dental disease to some degree. This problem is not confined to the mouth; if allowed to progress, dental disease can also infect the heart valves, liver and kidneys. At Companion Animal Hospital in Norridge, we make dental disease prevention a top priority because we’ve seen firsthand the damage this disease can inflict.
Inflamed gums, loose teeth, chronic pain and a decrease in appetite are all common symptoms of dental disease, which occurs when bacteria-holding tartar attacks the gums and spreads under the gum line. These symptoms can limit your pet’s quality of life significantly. However, with comprehensive pet dental care including annual exams and routine cleanings, your pet can stay healthy and pain-free.
What’s Involved in Dental Cleanings?
For the best possible dental care, our team takes a thorough, safety-conscious approach. This includes the following steps:
- A pre-dental exam and blood work to evaluate organ function and overall health. We also need to screen for potential illnesses or other problems that could increase safety risks during the dental procedure, which we perform only when pets are under general anesthesia.
- While the pet is under general anesthesia, we conduct a periodontal exam of the teeth and their supporting structures to assess damage and chart our observations. This includes probing the gum pockets around the teeth.
- During the periodontal exam, we also take digital dental X-rays of the entire mouth to look for hidden tooth fractures, abscesses, growths, and other issues.
- Dental cleanings include removing plaque and tartar from the teeth using an ultrasonic scaling instrument and polishing each tooth afterward to discourage buildup in the future.
- We recommend tooth extractions to treat teeth that are loose, broken or showing signs of resorption.
How to Care for Your Pet’s Teeth at Home
Quality pet dental care begins in the home. If you need advice or a demonstration to help you with your pet’s dental treatments, we’re here to lend a helping hand. We highly recommend brushing your pet’s teeth on a daily basis if possible, and switching out regular treats with dental treats and chews. Our hospital also carries a tartar control diet that you can try! We have plenty of options for you, so be sure to stop in and speak with our front desk or schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to learn more! Just call (708) 457-0066.