Caring for Your Pet’s Teeth
Did you know that your pet can be susceptible to gingivitis, or worse, periodontitis? In truth, our four-legged friends need routine dental care just like we do, but many cats and dogs develop gum disease as early as 3 years old*. Chewing on toys and dental treats will not prevent plaque and tartar from adhering to your pet’s teeth. Only professional pet dental care provided by your veterinarian will keep their teeth clean and plaque-free. Here in Irvine, our dental services are designed to not only clean your pet’s teeth, but improve their overall quality of life. An unhealthy mouth can lead to an unhealthy body, and our goal is to prevent that from taking place.
*The American Veterinary Dental College
Our Pet Dental Care Services
When we see your pet for their annual wellness visit, we will take time to check their mouths and determine whether a dental cleaning will be necessary. Dental prophylaxis (or prophy) is the act of cleaning your pet’s teeth using an ultrasonic scaling instrument. The tip of the scaler vibrates at ultrasonic speeds to break down hard calculus, and is kept cool with a jet of water. We can also perform tooth extractions if necessary; decaying roots and broken teeth can be very painful for your pet and lead to further health risks.
Before any dental procedure, we need to examine your pet fully and run diagnostics to ensure that anesthesia will be safe for them. All dental cleanings must be performed under anesthesia, so that we can safely remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line, where many dental problems occur.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is one of the most common conditions afflicting today’s pets, and it is completely preventable. With proper dental care involving daily brushings and routine cleanings, plaque and tartar will not be able to wreak havoc on your pet’s mouth. Gum disease occurs as a result of calculus spreading below the gum line and infecting the surrounding bone and tissue. This condition can cause severe discomfort for your pet, and, if left untreated, can lead to disease of the heart, lungs, liver, or kidneys. Symptoms that may indicate gum disease include:
- Bad breath
- Loose or broken teeth
- Brown or yellow teeth
- Excessive salivation
- Difficulty chewing and eating
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Pawing at the face and mouth
- Facial swelling
Maintaining Your Pet’s Teeth at Home
Ideally, you should begin brushing your pet’s teeth when they are young, and have time to grow accustomed to the process. Be sure to use toothpaste made specifically for pets! We also send home a dental care package with all of our anesthetic dental patients, and we carry a full line of at-home dental care products to help with at-home dental maintenance. If you have questions about brushing your pet’s teeth or would like to schedule a dental exam for your pet, call us at (949) 552-5200.