Pet Dentistry: Dogs and Cats Need Dental Care, Too.

Pet Dentistry: Dogs and Cats Need Dental Care, Too… at

Pet Dentistry: Dogs and Cats Need Dental Care, Too

Pet dentistry has become an established aspect of good veterinary care. And for good reason! One of the best things a pet owner can do to insure the overall health of their pet is to do routine checking of the teeth, gums and oral cavity. Look at the two photos below…one shows a healthy state of oral hygiene, and the other…well, you can see for yourself that this dog has some major problems.

Nice Mouth!
A healthy mouth with normal bacterial flora and sound gums and minimal plaque buildup.

Gosh! Sorry I looked.
An unhealthy oral cavity with all sorts of unfavorable bacteria, gum and inner lip ulcerations, receding gums, root exposure and plaque buildup.

The dog whose photo is on the right (2nd one above) runs the risk of toxin absorption into the blood stream. Bacteria, too, can invade the body through the blood stream by gaining entrance into the oral lesions… this is called Bacteremia. If the bacteria get a chance to settle and reproduce in the lining of the heart or heart valves, a serious condition may result called Bacterial Endocarditis. Kidney damage and joint problems are a common sequele to bacterial invasion via the unhealthy oral cavity.

[Visit a Specialist in Veterinary Dentistry] [ All About Oral Health Care] [See Advanced Dental Care Procedures]

What Veterinarians Can Do

We will use as an example this feline dentistry case. This seven year old cat was presented for annual vaccinations and during the physical exam the veterinarian notice the plaque on the teeth and inflamed gums at the margins of the teeth and gums. (The medical term for “gums” is “gingiva”.) So, this cat had gingivitis and plaque that if left to its own evolution would get worse over time. The cat would eventually develop cavities in the teeth, gingival recession, bacterial contamination, loose teeth and root exposure. It probably would hurt, too!

Gentle anesthesia Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
This cat was admitted in the morning after an overnight fast from food and water. Routine blood tests were normal and the cat was judged to be a good candidate for anesthesia and dentistry. Using a very simple and unrestrictive method of anesthesia induction, Dr. Mike Rosek and his assistant Kelly of Stevens Point Animal Hospital in Wisconsin, placed the cat into the induction chamber. A mixture of anesthetic gas and oxygen flows into the chamber (and safely vented to the outdoors) and in a few moments the cat will be relaxed enough to allow the endotracheal tube to be inserted into the trachea. Throughout the procedure the anesthetic gas flowing through the endotracheal tube is regulated so that work can be done painlessly and still have the patient at a safe level of anesthesia.

Some veterinarians are members of the American Veterinary Dental Association and have advanced skills and capabilities. Often, an animal will need a root canal procedure performed or require a tooth to be capped. While many pet owners do not expect their pet to have these services performed, they can and should be done in certain circumstances. Gingival plastic surgery can be done, as well. Sometimes the best thing to do is to remove a severely damaged or markedly loose tooth. Once the gum heals, the pet seldom shows any signs of missing the offending tooth or teeth.

The "Before" Photo
Here is what the cat’s mouth looked like prior to the dentistry. Note the endotracheal tube, inflamed gingival margins and plaque deposits on the teeth.

The "During" Photo
An ultrasonic instrument is used to separate the plaque from the teeth. It sprays cooling water at the time it works it’s cleaning magic on the teeth. After the teeth are “scaled” a light buffing is done to polish the teeth.

The "After" Photo
As the cat awakens, the endotracheal tube is removed and antibiotics are prepared for administration at home for 7 to 10 days. Initially an antibiotic injection is given as soon as the cat is anesthetized. There will be a disruption of the gum tissue and all sorts of bacteria thrown about during the cleaning.
This cat will go home in the afternoon and instructions are given to the owner as to beneficial oral care for the cat. Hopefully it won’t need further dentistry; but there are some patients who need ultrasonic cleaning almost every year.

Dog Dentistry Needed
Be sure to take a good look in your dog or cat’s mouth and inspect it for any foul looking or smelling characteristics. If you are suspicious that something isn’t right, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a dental checkup. Both you and your pet will feel better when oral hygiene is an important part of your pet health care routine. There is no excuse for allowing a pet’s oral health status to deteriorate to conditions like the dog on the left. It’s up to you to keep a look-out for teeth and gum problems.


Click on the link at the beginning of this article…
“The Internet Animal Hospital”

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4 Responses

    | Reply

    How to pick a dentist

    Dentistry can be frightening for may people. A large number of people have sad or scary stories about the dentist. It just takes one bad dentist to start a person on a self destructive path of avoidance and tooth decay. Many of the dentally fearful ask the same question. What is the easiest and best way to choose a dentist? Following a simple process of selection is best. Making the decision structure simple is the key to get ting back in the dentists’ chair and getting back on the road to a healthy and pain free smile. Using the following criteria while making dentistry choices will simplify your decisions.

    A recommendation from your existing dentist, a friend, or family member can be useful.

    You might ask your current dentist if he knows of any good dentists. Often, dentists maintain personal and professional relationships with other dentists around the country, and your dentist might be able to recommend a good dentist he knows of. Also friends and family members can provide very good insight into skills, office esthetics, and professional treatment. They can also help you to become more comfortable about the pain levels and sensitivity to certain environmental factors. Another good thing about a recommendation from friends or family is that you can assess the general cost structure before sitting in the chair.

    What should you look for in a new dentist?

    You can ask friends and neighbors for their recommendations. You should also look for a dentist who has a friendly staff that is easy to communicate with. Your dentist should be able to handle your particular dental history, but should also offer preventative dentistry, and do periodic examinations of your teeth and gums, along with at least yearly x-rays. They should encourage periodic appointments for routine teeth cleaning. The environment should be clean and stress free. The staff should always be friendly and receptive to your needs. If the staff or the dentist thinks you are being a baby when you tell them of your fears or apprehensions then simply leave and find another dentist.

    Watch out for these warning signs.

    Keep an eye out for flashy advertising, dentists who advocate cosmetic dentistry above preventative dentistry, and twilight sleep as the ideal technique of surgery. Also watch out for dentists that seem worried with diagnosing other illnesses besides those associated with teeth and gums. Dentists who practice holistic dentistry or those who depend on vitamin sales to boost their income are very bad and can actually set your dental health back. Be careful of a dentist that does not listen. If your dentist prefers extraction over saving a tooth then you might have a problem. Also, if you have a dentist who is offended if you get a second opinion then cut and run.

    You should get acquainted first

    Most dentists will happily schedule a consultation visit so you can meet the dentist and their staff, and decide then if this is the right dentist for your teeth and personal needs. If a dentist is not willing to schedule a visit like this, they probably are not the dentist for you. It is not very difficult to select a new dentist. You just need to understand what you looking for and not be afraid to ask some questions. If you understand some of the things to look for in a new dental practice, then your selection should be fairly easy. There are plenty of health related reasons to go to the dentist. You can make all of them available to you to use when you choose to follow a strict regimen of dentistry. You should go out and find a new dentist quickly and easily to preserve your beautiful smile.

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  2. Dentist in milpitas
    | Reply

    I think they should be treated too. We share the same aches and pain, so it’s better if animals could have their own dentist.

  3. Steve Frerichs
    | Reply

    Pet Dentistry: Dogs and Cats Need Dental Care, Too. — PetLvr Blog …: PetLvr Blog For Pet Lovers. Pet Rescue, Hea…

  4. Ultrasonic
    | Reply

    Its a nice post for pet lover.and very informative.I really enjoy it.Thanks for this.

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