Pet Dental Care at The Smart Vet

Does My Pet Need Dental Care?

Bad Breath (halitosis) is not normal in dogs or cats.  Bad breath is a sure sign that your pet is in need of dental care.  Bad breath is often a sign of gingivitis, periodontal disease, or chronic infection. Unless treated, infection causes both acute and chronic pain and has far reaching effects on your pet’s organ function and their overall longevity. 

Flip a Lip, Take a Look

Flip your pet’s lip and look at your pet’s teeth.  If you see redness of the gums, tartar on the teeth and smell a foul odor, your pet needs our help.  One of our veterinarians can perform an evaluation of your pet’s oral cavity and schedule a dental appointment.   

Our safe and effective dental procedure includes a pre-dental exam with pre-procedure blood tests, IV fluid therapy, gas anesthetic, monitoring of vital signs, dental X-rays, and complete cleaning and polishing of your pet’s teeth. Any necessary dental extractions will be discussed with you during your pet’s pre-procedure exam. As veterinarians, our goal is to work with you to provide the most comfortable and longest life possible for your pet.

Why Dental Care?

Dental care for dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. In fact, a recent AAHA study showed that:

  • Approximately two-thirds of pet owners do not provide essential dental care.
  • 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three years. Dental disease does not just affect the mouth. It can lead to more serious health problems including heart, lung, and kidney disease, which makes it all the more important that you provide your pet’s with proper dental care right from the start.
  • Dental disease is the most common disease of all dogs and cats.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Fido’s dog breath and Tabby’s tuna breath aren’t something to be ignored.  Foul breath usually indicates an oral problem, and the sooner you have it treated by our veterinarian, the sooner you and your pet can smile proudly. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth. It starts out as a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria then attack the teeth. When the bacteria die they can be calcified with the calcium in saliva. This forms a hard, rough substance called tartar, or calculus, which allows more plaque to accumulate. Initially, plaque is soft and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can dislodge it. If left to spread, plaque can lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, causing the gum to become red and swollen and bleed easily. When plaque and calculus develop below the gum line, professional cleaning will is needed. If the plaque and tartar buildup continues unchecked, infection can form around the root of the tooth. In the final stages of periodontal disease, the tissues surrounding the tooth are destroyed, the bone supporting the tooth erodes, and the tooth becomes loose. This is a very painful process for your four-legged friend, but these problems can be averted before they even start. If your pet has bad breath, call us for a dental health check-up!

Dental Care at The Smart Vet

Veterinary dental care begins at the puppy and kitten life stage. Our veterinarians evaluate puppies and kittens for problems related to the deciduous (baby) teeth, missing or extra teeth, swellings, and oral development. As your pet ages, we will continue to look for developmental anomalies, the accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease, and oral tumors. 

Our veterinarians can perform a basic oral examination on patients that are awake. However, anesthetic is required in order to provide a complete and thorough examination of damaged teeth and for  full-mouth dental x-rays, as well as dental cleanings. We recommend regular oral examinations and dental cleanings under general anesthesia for all adult dogs and cats.   

Dental treatment at SmartVet includes:

  • Pre-anesthetic exam: We will thoroughly examine your pet to make sure he or she is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. Depending on your pet’s age and general physical condition, we may also suggest an urinalysis, electrocardiograph, or chest x-ray tests to check for any abnormal conditions in the major organs and body functions. Though there is some risk associated with any medical procedure, modern anesthesia is safe, even for older pets.
  • Anesthesia monitoring: During anesthesia, the monitoring and recording of your pet’s vital signs (body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, etc) is important. This helps ensure the safety of your pet while undergoing anesthesia.
  • Dental radiographs: Radiographs (x-rays) of the teeth are needed to completely evaluate your pet’s oral health below the gum line.  X-rays aid in detecting abnormalities that cannot be detected by looking in the mouth. In some cases, x-rays can confirm the need for extraction of teeth that are loose, broken, or badly infected.
  • Scaling & Polishing: We use similar instruments as human dentists to remove plaque and calculus from your pet’s teeth. To smooth out any scratches in the tooth enamel, polishing with a special paste and an enamel sealant makes the surface of the tooth so that the build-up of plaque is reduced. This can help strengthen and desensitize teeth, as well as decrease future dental pain and inflammation.
  • Home Care: We are here to help you in any way we can to maintain your pet’s healthy mouth by coaching you with the right combination of products for you and your pet. When you pick your pet up, our veterinary technician will discuss home dental care you can perform at home to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Remember… pets can live longer, healthier lives if oral health care is managed and maintained throughout their lives. Talk to us about developing a dental care plan for your pet.