Why is Dentistry Important for Pets
It’s simple, proper dental care for your pet will help extend its life and save them from unnecessary pain and suffering. The problem with oral issues is that they can travel and don’t like to just stay in the mouth of your fur baby. This is extremely hazardous as it can lead to far worse problems like lung disease, kidney disease and even heart disease. A little bit of TLC from us and preventative measures at home can help your pet child avoid this gloomy dental future. To help you further, we’ve loaded this page with information about the evil that can lurk in your pets mouth.
You’ll learn more about:
- What Periodontal Disease Is
- How Gum Disease Starts
- Oral Disease Symptoms
- How It’s Treated
- Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Procedures Are Harmful
- Pet Dental Disease Prevention
- The Extra Care We Take That Makes Us The Best Choice In Arizona
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal or gum disease is an inflammation of some or all of a tooth’s deep supporting structures. The condition usually starts with inflammation of a single tooth and gets worse at each of the 4 stages the disease escalates through. If left untreated, the bacteria below the gum line will secret toxins that begin to cause tissue damage and eventual tooth loss. In the final stages, your pet will have significant bone and tissue loss. Periodontal Disease includes both Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
The disease has 4 stages in its life cycle:
Stage or grade 1 periodontal disease presents itself as gingivitis but without separation of the gum from the tooth. There will typically be some plaque and mild gum redness.
The problem is reversible at this stage.
In stage or grade 2 of the disease, there will be plaque below the gum line, redness and swelling, and perhaps some loss of attachment of teeth to gums. Bone support can be reduced by up to 10 percent.
The condition is still reversible at this stage.
Stage or grade 3 will feature calculus (tartar) below the gum line causing from 10 to 30 percent loss of bone support, redness, swelling, bleeding and obvious gum recession. Your pet will have a significantly higher risk of jaw fractures from the bone loss.
The condition at this stage is irreversible.
Stage or grade 4 is marked by significant amounts of calculus below the gum line, severe inflammation, gum recession, loose and missing teeth, pus and bleeding from the gums. Bone loss will be over 30 percent. Your pet will also be at the highest risk of damage to additional organs such as liver, kidney and heart.
The condition at this stage is irreversible.
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How Gum Disease Starts
The process starts with bits of food and bacteria that remain in your pet’s mouth after they eat. This residue forms a layer of plaque on their teeth and gums. Left alone, this plaque will soon harden to tartar which sticks to your pet’s teeth.
A buildup of tartar will irritate the gums, causing them to become inflamed. This is the condition known as gingivitis mentioned earlier. The inflammation causes your pet’s gums to turn from a healthy pink color to red. If the tartar is allowed to remain, it will build up under the gums. Eventually, this build up will cause the gums to pull away from the teeth.
How quickly plaque, tartar and gum disease develop in your pet’s mouth depends on a number of factors including its age, overall health, diet, breed, genetics, and the frequency of dental cleaning at home or from the vet.
Beyond the visual clues that you can see when inspecting your pets mouth, dog or cat Periodontal Disease can manifest as:
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing
- Mouth sensitivity
- Pawing at the mouth
- Red, inflamed, bleeding gums
- Head shyness
- Frequent sneezing
- Nasal discharge
- Blood on chew toys
- Making noises while eating
- Difficulty picking up food
- Tooth loss
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach or other digestive problems
- Irritable or depressed mood
- Frequently ill with no apparent cause
- Chronic pain
Dental disease can damage the heart, kidneys and liver if left untreated. If you notice any of these signs, schedule your dog or cat for a free dental examination today. Call us anytime at (623)594-6758 to schedule an exam. Your fur baby will thank you later!
Why Anesthesia is Used for Dental Procedures
The fact is, a truly thorough oral exam and cleaning can’t be accomplished on a pet who is awake. A dog or cat who isn’t sedated won’t tolerate a thorough inspection of their mouth. They will move around a lot, making the use of sharp instruments dangerous. Restraining a pet that’s awake would also cause tremendous amounts of stress and anxiety.
Cleaning below the gum line of a fully alert animal is something that should never be attempted. Pets won’t stand for it because not only does the procedure cause massive amounts of stress, it’s also extremely painful. If tooth extractions are necessary, they are out of the question for un-anesthetized pets.
Benefits of Using Anesthesia:
- Immobilizing your dog or cat to insure his safety and cooperation during a procedure he doesn’t understand and is stressed about.
- Allows for a thorough exam of all the surfaces inside the mouth and the taking of x-rays.
- Allows for scaling below the gum line where periodontal disease is most active.
- Pain management and overall comfort of your furry loved one.
How Anesthesia-Free Dental Procedures Might Do More Harm than Good
Non-professional dental scaling can potentially give pet owners a false sense of security about the state of their dog’s or cat’s oral health. Even though your pet’s teeth – what you can see of them – may look clean and fresh after an anesthesia-free dental procedure, what you can’t see is actually more important. Problems like tartar buildup below the gum line and gingivitis aren’t addressed during a procedure that only scrapes and polishes the teeth. Most oral disease happens below the visible surfaces of your dog’s or cat’s mouth.
NPDS is an aesthetic procedure that doesn’t deal with gum problems or other risks to your pet’s overall health that can develop from disease that starts in the mouth. It doesn’t allow for probing of the gums to look for the presence of deepening periodontal pockets or bone destruction resulting from gum disease. The majority of older dogs that have undergone anesthesia-free dental procedures for years wind up with significant dental disease requiring multiple extractions as they age.
Think of it like washing your car but never changing the oil. It may sparkle and shine, but the inside is slowly wasting away.
Don’t Let This Happen To You!
This poor dog had regular and recent Anesthesia Free Dental work done. (A.F.D. for short) As you can see in the photo, his teeth appear to be clean upon visual inspection but a Periodontal Probe shows severe bone loss. This dog has been suffering for years.
The owner didn’t know any better at the time and had given in to the scare tactics employed by AFD practitioners and thought their service was the same as what a vet would do. It’s an unfortunate, common practice to prey on the fears of pet owners but can be remedied with a little education!
In this instance, the owner noticed that the dog began to have trouble eating and realized a vet visit was in order. All said and done, this patient had 24 teeth extracted. All of which could’ve been avoided with a more thorough dental visit.
This is a dental radiograph of the patient that shows just how bad things were under the surface. Surprisingly, these teeth had not become loose despite the extensive supporting bone loss. There is no doubt that this poor dog had been suffering in silence for years. All of this could’ve easily been avoided with a single vet visit. In the long run, vet visits early on would’ve discovered these issues and stopped them before they got worse.
A.F.D. isn’t something that you have to abandon all together; there are ways that it can be useful. It is still a cost effective way to help prevent oral diseases. You just have to understand that it isn’t a fix all solution and should only be used periodically and that it isn’t a replacement for proper veterinary care.
Call us anytime at (623)594-6758 to schedule an exam. It will give you and your pet peace of mind.
How We Became The Best Choice In Phoenix, Arizona
Our comprehensive and affordable approach to your pet’s health has rocketed us straight to the head of the class. Your experience starts the moment you enter the doors to meet our friendly staff and begin taking advantage of our top notch amenities.
This brand new, state of the art facility is dedicated to making each of your visits a pleasurable and stress free experience for both you and your pet. We welcome dogs of all sizes and ages as well as cats. Cat owners get to enjoy a semi-private entrance and waiting area just for you along with private and quiet cat only exam rooms.
Our Extensive Pet Dental Health Package Includes
- An in-house pre-anesthetic blood screen
- IV catheter and fluids for blood pressure maintenance and hydration
- State of the art equipment to monitor ECG, blood pressure, pulse, breathing and temperature
- Full mouth dental films (x-rays) to check for disease and tooth root abscesses below the gum line
- Scaling and polishing of the teeth
- Probing for pockets and cleaning under the gumline where periodontal trouble starts
- Complete oral exam to check for abnormal tissue or growths in the mouth
- We have the best price for an “advanced level” dental package in the Phoenix area
Pet Dental Disease Prevention
The best way to handle Periodontal Disease is to stop it before it ever starts! Having a simple, daily dental routine for your pet will make life easier and better for you and them. Here’s a few things you can do to help your dog or cat before they suffer any oral health issues…
- Brush their teeth if possible
- Use dental rinses to help slow tartar build up
- Transition your dog or cat to a raw diet
- Dental hygiene specific toys or chews
- Routine mouth inspections
- Regular oral exams with your vet (Don’t forget to set your appointment today: (623)594-6758!)