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Why is it important to have my pet's teeth cleaned regularly?
There are two main reasons for routine cleanings:
What should I look for when I examine my pet's teeth?
Look for anything that appears abnormal. The first sign of periodontal disease is redness of the gums.
No matter how minor it seems, if this is present, disease is present. The pet needs veterinary care in order to treat the disease and avoid all the problems associated with it.
If periodontal disease is not treated early, advanced signs of disease include swelling of the gums, calculus on the teeth, receding gums, and mobile teeth. Any of these is a sign of advanced periodontal disease, and immediate medical attention is required.
Other things to watch for include swelling or masses, broken or worn teeth, and discoloration of the teeth. Any of these things should also be brought to the attention of a veterinarian right away.
The Dental Exam is the First Step in a Dental Care Program!
Veterinary dentistry is an essential part of our practice. Good dental care leads to good oral health, which can contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of the pets in your care. Without good dental care, dogs and cats are at risk for gum disease, tooth loss, bacterial infection and systemic complications. A thorough oral examination can identify potential problems, such as plaque and tartar buildup or gingivitis, and determine if a dental cleaning or periodontal treatment is required.
The Dental Exam includes these steps:
Step 1 - Examine the face and head for asymmetry, swelling or discharges. Use this time to educate the owner on what you are looking for and any abnormal findings.
Step 2 - Examine the oral cavity, oral mucosa, and facial surfaces of teeth and gums.
Step 3 - Open the mouth to examine lingual/palatal surfaces of teeth and gums, tongue, palates, oral mucosa, tonsils and ventral tongue area.
Step 4 - Discuss preventative care and dental nutrition.
Step 5 - After you discuss findings and recommendations, review the home dental care routine, especially how to introduce a pet to having his or her teeth brushed.
When is a pet too old to have a dental cleaning?
NEVER. Healthy pets, even when they're older, handle anesthesia quite well. Age does increase the possibility that the patient will have some degree of organ malfunction, and those with systemic problems will be at an increased risk. Therefore, we recommend pre-operative testing on all patients prior to anesthesia. The important organs include the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. Recommended tests include a complete blood panel and urinalysis in all patients. Thyroid testing and thoracic radiographs are recommended in all patients over 6 years.
The Above Information was supplied by Hills Pet Nutrition Canada