Bad Breath is Bad News
Imagine if you never brushed your teeth or had them cleaned. Pretty frightening, right? As you can guess, teeth would rot and decay, gums would become inflamed and painful, then infected. You could have loose teeth or even trouble eating. Bacteria from periodontal disease could eventually travel into your bloodstream and cause other serious health problems.
It’s the same scenario for your dog or cat. While some people might scoff at the idea of brushing their pet’s teeth or taking them for a dental cleaning, the fact is that by age three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some evidence of periodontal disease.
Chronic infection and inflammation in the mouth affects your pet’s immune system and other organ health, including:
- Inflammation and chronic changes to the liver
- Advancing kidney disease
- Increased risk of infection of heart valves
- Increased risk of diabetes and insulin resistance
Preventive Dental Care
Annual dental exams are your best defense against dental disease, and they help maintain proper oral hygiene while preventing future problems. We offer complete pet oral health services, including:
- Dental exams and cleanings
- Dental X-rays
- Bonding and sealing teeth
- Oral surgery
Brushing your pet’s teeth at home several times a week can also help prevent plaque and tartar build-up.
We believe that every pet deserves a pain-free and functional mouth. That’s why we develop a tooth-by-tooth assessment and treatment plan that addresses each pet’s unique dental needs.
We start with a physical exam of your pet that includes:
- Checking for bad breath (halitosis)
- Evaluating the alignment of the bite
- Evaluating the degree of gingivitis and tartar buildup on teeth
- Checking for fractured or chipped teeth
If your pet shows signs of pain or infection during the exam, we’ll recommend lab work to finish the screening. This helps us determine if an anesthetic dental assessment is a safe and smart choice for your pet.
During the cleaning, we’ll scale and polish teeth to treat and prevent periodontal disease. X-rays of each tooth are taken to look for disease hidden below the gumline. Then we apply sealants (such a GingiShield) to help maintain a healthy mouth, slow progression of dental disease, and cover up sensitivity from chipped or fractured teeth.
Schedule an appointment for your pet’s dental exam by calling (407) 897-8555.
- Does my pet truly need anesthesia for dental work?
Yes! Most pets won’t let us examine their mouths while they are awake, so to safely examine, take X-rays, clean and polish your pet’s teeth, your pet must be under anesthesia. We are also able to treat any disease that is discovered right away. We closely monitor your pet’s blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, EKG pattern, and oxygenation while they are under anesthesia.
- Is my pet too old for anesthesia?
As long as your pet is in good health based on their physical exam and screening lab work, dentistry is absolutely appropriate for most pets, whether they are 16 months or 16 years old. Our senior pets often benefit most from dentistry as they commonly are harboring painful teeth and oral infections.
- When should I start bringing my pet in for dental care?
We recommend examining puppy or kitten mouths at six or seven months of age. By then, all adult teeth should be in place, and we can assess bite occlusion to see if they have a comfortable adult bite.
- How do I brush my pet’s teeth?
Start by letting your pet lick something delicious (like peanut butter) off their toothbrush, so they will have a positive association with brushing. Slowly build up to slipping the toothbrush into the mouth a few times. Then progress to brushing their teeth while they are licking the peanut butter. Once brushing is a positive experience for you both, switch from your treat to a pet safe toothpaste.
- Should I give my pet dental treats?
There are effective dental supplements available, like 1TDC treats, which treats gingivitis by fighting bacteria in the mouth and preventing tartar from sticking to teeth. Oravet is another vet-approved brand that can also be helpful. However, beware of many companies that advertise that their products help to promote healthy teeth through chewing or with water additives. While these can be delicious, they do not help prevent periodontal disease.