February, it’s that time of year when love is in the air and we take extra time to make our loved ones feel extra special. And we know you love your furry family members just the same, that’s why February is Pet Dental Health Month, to help you remember to love your pet’s teeth too!
Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition among dogs and cats, but the good news is with annual veterinary dental cleanings and oral exams, it’s entirely preventable! A proper veterinary dental cleaning involves a comprehensive oral exam, veterinary dental x-rays and veterinary dental cleaning under anesthesia. This level of care assures that plaque can be removed from beneath the gumline, where periodontal disease begins. Veterinary dental x-rays also provide a full picture of your pet’s mouth so that any disease or damage can be identified early, when it is much easier and less expensive to treat.
It may seem like as long as your pet’s teeth look ok and they don’t have horrible breath, they don’t need any dental care. But, periodontal disease silently causes disease and damage beneath your pet’s gumline and by the time there are visible signs of bad teeth or bad breath, your pet is in pain and treatment will involve extensive teeth extractions and often bone grafting.
It’s also important to know that anesthesia free dental cleanings or scalings offered by groomers or lay people are NOT a replacement for veterinary dental cleanings. This is a recent trend, which tries to convince pet owners that they can have their pet’s teeth cleaned without needing to go to their vet or have their put under anesthesia. Don’t fall prey to this risky practice. While it may seem cheaper and safer, essentially these providers a merely scraping your pet’s teeth and leading you to believe your pet is healthy, while severe periodontal disease may be present beneath the gumline. And, in addition to providing no benefit to your pet, imagine the process of being restrained while having your teeth scraped – this is certainly a very frightening and painful experience for your pet.
Need evidence of risks of anesthesia free dental care? Colorado vet dentist Dr. Woodward, DAVDC, recently treated a dog, who after years of anesthesia free dental cleanings, ended up with such severe bone loss, 16 teeth required extraction.
We all love our pets and want them to be happy and healthy. Taking them in for a veterinary dental cleaning every year is an important part of their health. Over the long term this care will prevent costly treatments down the road and more importantly will help assure that throughout their life, they have a healthy, pain free mouth.