Winnie Hunt

DENTAL CARE

Dental health leads to more than fresh breath. If you don’t take care of your pet’s teeth, tartar and gum disease can lead to problems with the heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys. Getting your pet’s dental needs met will go a long way towards ensuring a long and healthy life.

DOGS - Four fifths of all dogs show some sign of gum disease at age 3, with smaller dogs having more problems.

CATS - Cats fare only slightly better than dogs, with 70% exhibiting some signs of gum disease by age 3. Almost one-third of all cats will develop a painful cervical line lesion at some point in their lifetime.

To maximize your pet’s quality of life, be sure to take care of their teeth and gums! Our staff can provide advice on preventive dental care. Schedule an annual Preventive Care Exam, which includes an oral exam to determine if further veterinary dental care is required.

DENTAL HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS
All pets are at risk for developing dental problems, so it is important to check your pet’s mouth and teeth often for warning signs, such as bad breath; tartar buildup on the teeth; swollen, receding, or bleeding gums; fracturedMichiko Pitter or abscessed teeth; and a change in eating habits. Bring your pet to us if any of these symptoms are present.

Brushing Strategies Try the C.E.T. Fingerbrush to control plaque, help with fresh breath, and prevent dental problems. After affixing the toothbrush to your finger with a little enzymatic toothpaste, rub the brush in a circular motion on the outside of your pet’s teeth. Eighty percent of the plaque and tartar are formed on the outside surface of the teeth, so don’t worry about the inside if your pet won’t tolerate you brushing there. You want this to be a pleasant experience for your pet so that you can do it regularly, and you certainly don’t want to get bit! The most important area to focus on is the gum line, where bacteria and food mix to form plaque. Keeping your pet’s mouth closed while brushing allows for an effective working of the teeth surface with the brush. Your effort should be concentrated on the back teeth, then work your way forward to the front teeth. Don't use human toothpaste.Swallowing it may cause stomach problems. If you would like an alternative to the fingerbrush, you can purchase a C.E.T. toothbrush with a long handle from us, or you can use a soft child’s brush or an inexpensive electric toothbrush purchased from your local drugstore.

CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING PICTURES FOR INSTRUCTIVE VIDEOS ON PET TEETH BRUSHING







Tartar Control Diets
Normal dry pet food provides a dental benefit because of the moderate scraping action from crunching the kibbles. There are also a number of unique dental diets that do not need to be fed as the entire diet to be effective.

We recommend Hill’s t/d. It is the only nutritionally complete pet food clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar accumulation and help prevent gingivitis and the accompanying bad breath. You can mix it in with your regular pet food or use it exclusively. Some pet owners give it as a treat.

It is important to watch the treats. The soft, gummy treats can be especially bad for the teeth - they are soft, sticky, and full of sugar. Treats such as raw carrots for dogs are a much healthier choice. There are many "dental treats" on the market now to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

Give your pet dental chews, rawhide, or dental bones. Avoid hard bones, such as cow hooves. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, aggressive chewing on hard objects, such as commercially available cow hooves, is a primary cause of broken teeth in dogs.

VETERINARIAN DENTAL CLEANING
Like human dental cleaning, routine pet dental cleaning consists of SCALING TARTAR from above and below the gumline, using both hand instruments and ultrasonic scaling equipment), POLISHING (smoothing down the surfaces, making them more resistant to plaque formation), FLUSHING (using a special antiseptic solution to rid the mouth of bacteria so they do not invade gums which may have been irritated during cleaning) and FLUORIDE TREATMENT, the final step in the dental prophylaxis, to strengthen the enamel and decrease the rate of plaque buildup.




Unlike human dental cleaning, pet dental cleaning requires GENERAL ANESTHESIA, since pets do not "open wide", and may also include TOOTH EXTRACTIONS and ANTIBIOTIC THERAPY, depending upon how advanced the dental disease is. We recommend that any animal age 8 or older receive at least a CBC and a BIOCHEMICAL SCREEN to assess the safety of the pet undergoing anesthesia before a dental cleaning is performed.



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