Does your dog or cat’s breath smell…well…not so fresh?  If so, they may be in need of a professional dental cleaning or routine at-home dental care.

An astounding 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS).

How can you tell if your pet has oral disease?

Look at their teeth and gums.  Signs of oral disease include yellow or brown buildup along the gumline, bad breath, and inflammed gums.

How does oral disease happen?

Bacteria and food debris that remain in the mouth can cause plaque formations on the teeth.  As bacteria continue to grow, the plaque hardens into calculus and tartar.  Bacterial plaque causes gum inflammation, periodontal disease, oral pain, tooth loss, and problems with major organ function.  To treat these problems, a veterinary technician will perform a dental cleaning.

What is involved in a dental cleaning?

As pets won’t stay still and “open wide”, they are placed under a general anesthetic to be able to provide a thorough dental cleaning.  Once asleep, the teeth are scaled using hand and ultrasonic instruments to remove plaque and calculus buildup.

The gums and teeth are checked for any signs of disease that harm the structure and integrity of the teeth.  If the teeth are too damaged to save, an injection is given to numb the area, and then the teeth are extracted.

All teeth are then polished to smooth out the surface of the tooth to decrease further buildup.  We then have nice, white teeth again.  We also have digital dental radiographs (x-rays) to see how the teeth are doing below the gum-line.

What do I do after my pet’s dental cleaning?  and my pets are young and don’t have signs of dental disease…what can I do to prevent future dental problems?

During all stages of life, pets benefit from regular dental home care.  There are several options to choose from.  The best dental prevention is brushing your pet’s teeth several times a week with a pet (non-flouride) toothpaste.  Other options include pet oral rinse, gels, and items to chew such as elk antlers and dental rawhides.  A combination of dental home care can help maintain your pet’s dental cleaning, increase time between cleanings, and prevent further dental problems.

Please call us at 509-545-4931 if you would like suggestions on dental home care, or would like to schedule a dental cleaning for your pet!