Although many people dislike visiting the
dentist and make excuses to put off scheduling an appointment, deep down they
understand why it’s important to have a doctor regularly check their teeth and
perform preventative dental care. But what they don’t realize is that just
like humans, dogs and cats should be seen by a veterinary dental specialist as
Helping Keep Your Pet Healthy By Fighting Dental Disease
Many pet owners just assume that stinky breath goes along with having a pet, but it doesn’t have to. Although periodontal disease is the most common medical condition found in dogs and cats, it can be prevented.
There are four stages of periodontal disease in pets.
Stage 1: In the first stage, a slight buildup of tartar may be evident on the teeth and the gums may look red and slightly swollen. If x-rays are taken, no bone loss will be evident. A dental cleaning can be performed to ensure that the dental disease does not progress to later stages.
Stage 2: X-rays may also reveal up to 25% bone loss. A dental cleaning should be performed to prevent further deterioration of the bone.
Stage 3: At this point, significant bone loss has taken place. When a pet has stage three dental disease, a pet parent typically must choose between extraction and advanced procedures performed by a board-certified veterinary dental specialist to save the affected tooth.
Stage 4: At this stage, the bone loss is so severe that nothing can be done to save a tooth and the only option is extraction.
Dental disease can be quite painful for a pet, and this pain could easily be avoided with regular exams and routine home dental care.
Veterinary Dental Specialists Don’t Just Treat Dental Disease
There are many conditions other than dental disease that can impact a pet’s health, including:
- Jaw Fracture
- Jaw Malocclusion
- Salivary Gland Issues
- Cleft Palate Defects
An examination of the entire mouth may also reveal dangerous oral tumors such as fibrosarcoma, melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. If left unchecked these common oral tumors account for 12% of all cancers in cats and 6% of all cancers in dogs. This condition can be life-threatening, but if caught early enough, these cancers may be treatable, saving your pet’s life.
Additionally, regular visits may also help prevent other life-threatening diseases.
Study Links Dental Disease To Heart Disease In Dogs
Although veterinary dentists focus on taking care of the mouth, the work that they do may also be helping to hold off other serious medical conditions. Studies show that dogs with untreated periodontal disease have an increased risk of developing heart disease.
How Often Should My Pet See A Veterinary Dental Specialist?
It’s never too early to see a veterinary dentist! We recommend that you make an appointment today to see our experienced board-certified veterinary dental specialist. During your visit, we will examine your pet and then discuss preventative care and/or immediate treatment options with you.