Sandwich Pet Dental Care
Your pet's dental health is an important part of his overall health. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the age of 3. It is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Dental disease is an often unrecognized source of pain in pets.
Common signs of oral disease include:
- Tartar buildup
- Red and swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Generalized depression
Dental disease causes pain and can affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the blood stream and may cause serious kidney infections, liver disease, lung disease, and heart valve disease. Oral disease can also indicate that another disease process is occurring elsewhere in a pet’s body. A thorough physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if this is the case.
Oral Health Care
Many health problems start in the mouth. Plaque, tartar, periodontal disease, and infected teeth serve as a source of inflammation and infection for the rest of the body. Dental disease is also a source of pain. There are many ways that dog and cat owners can help their veterinarian provide a healthy mouth for their pet. Our dental services at Sandwich Veterinary Hospital include teeth cleaning and polishing, tooth extractions and minor oral surgery.
Dental disease can occur in pets of all ages, but if your pet is 3 years or older, he/she likely has tartar and plaque build-up on the teeth and probably needs a dental cleaning. Older pets that lack preventive dental care and cleanings will have advanced tartar build-up and some degree of gum disease. The problem begins when plaque and tartar are allowed to build up on your pet's teeth. Plaque harbors the bacteria which can infect gum tissue and the root system of the teeth. This causes pain and can result in healthy teeth having to be extracted because the root structure has been compromised.
Regular professional cleaning is important to maintaining your pet's health at any age. Dental cleanings must be performed under general anesthesia in order to properly and safely examine and clean the teeth. We use modern and safe ultrasonic equipment; each tooth is thoroughly cleaned above and below the gum line. Dental technicians polish the teeth to create a smooth, lustrous surface more resistant to plaque buildup.
Dental Disease Prevention
After the teeth are cleaned and polished, your veterinarian will perform a thorough oral exam and check each tooth for any signs of dental disease (gum loss, root exposure, pockets around the root). Extensive dental disease requires the tooth to be removed (extracted). Many teeth require oral surgery to safely remove each individual root. We have extensive training and experience to perform these procedures properly. Oral nerve blocks are performed and additional injectable pain medications are administered if teeth are extracted. Your pet will also be sent home with oral pain medication. Pets recover quickly following these procedures, and, once the gums have completely healed, they resume eating their regular dry kibble even when multiple teeth are extracted.
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends regular oral examinations and dental cleanings, under general anesthesia, for all adult dogs and cats. A veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. This is recommended because bacteria and food debris accumulates around a pet’s teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay results in irreversible periodontal disease and even tooth loss. We can recommend and demonstrate preventative measures you can begin at home. Our wellness program emphasizes and explains how you can avoid costly dental procedures with your pet in the future.