Importance of Dental Exams and Cleanings in your Vail Valley Pets

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Importance of Dental Exams and Cleanings in your Vail Valley Pets

September is upon us, the time when many local veterinarians are offering discounts on pet dental services. So often I hear “Doc, I had my cat for 16 years and never had to clean her teeth,” or “Doc, I just give my dog a bone once a week and I figured that would take care of those teeth!”

Believe it or not, your pet’s need annual dental exams and potential cleanings, just like people!  Because your pets cannot talk to you and tell you when there truly is an issue, that annual exam can be very helpful in identifying pathology in your pet’s mouth long before you see signs!

Pets are prone to multiple dental issues. In dogs, we often will find broken teeth, abscessed teeth, as well as oral cancers. In cat, we will find what is referred to as “resorbtive” lesions, a type of “cavity” found up next to the gum line which can be very painful to a cat. In addition, we also discover abscessing teeth and again, oral cancers.

In pets, outward signs of dental disease include:

-Bad Breath

-excessive salivation

-discharge from the mouth

-problems picking up and/or chewing food

-swelling on the side of the face

- Talking or making noises when eating or opening the mouth

-not wanting the mouth touched, “shying away” when approached

-chewing on one side of the mouth vs another

-Chronic sneezing and/or nasal discharge

Once examined, your veterinarian can determine the need for the next step in your pet’s dental care.

The first, and foremost step is routine cleaning. The pet is typically sedated to avoid dangerous particles of plaque and bacteria from getting into your pet’s lungs. During the cleaning process,  the teeth are carefully ultrasonically cleaned and polished, then a “probe” is utilized to locate problem areas.

After the dental cleaning, your veterinarian can utlilize dental radiography. So many times we do not see significant pathology visually in the mouth, while the dental radiographs will show roots absorbing, infected roots, or even fractured roots. These radiographs can also predict further problem areas to care can be instigated early to avoid losing those teeth in the future.

Repair of dental pathology can include enamel repair, root canals, or even extraction depending upon what is found during the dental procedure.

Regardless, by taking care of your pet’s dental health, you are assuring you are

Preventing serious systemic infections from occurring later, not to forget avoiding your pet being in pain from a dental issue that was not detected early.

In conclusion, being proactive with your pet’s dental care can assure a healthier, happier pet!

We look forward to seeing you!