Pet owners often assume that doggy breath is normal, but it is actually a sign of deteriorating dental health. Normal oral bacteria deposit sticky plaque on the tooth surface that quickly mineralizes into tartar if not scrubbed away with routine brushing. Left untreated, dental disease progresses to the tooth root and periodontal ligament, which anchors the tooth root to surrounding bone.
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, dental disease is the most common clinical condition that affects pet dogs and cats, and most pets have signs of dental disease by age 3. If your pet does not receive regular dental care, dental disease is inevitable. Cherry Hill Animal Hospital (CHAH) offers routine dentistry services to keep your furry friend’s mouth sparkling clean and pain-free.
A dental exam is performed during your pet’s annual wellness visit to detect early dental disease signs. However, a lot can change in your pet’s mouth between exams, so watch for dental disease signs, such as:
If you notice any of these clinical signs, schedule an appointment for an oral exam as soon as possible. Dental disease causes significant oral pain, and pets often suffer with painful teeth long before owners realize their pet has a problem.
If dental disease is detected, our veterinarians will recommend a more thorough dental exam and cleaning under anesthesia. CHAH does not practice anesthesia-free dentistry, since a complete and safe dental cleaning can only be performed with anesthesia. To ensure your pet is safe during the anesthetic procedure, we perform thorough preanesthetic screening, use the safest medications and techniques available, and provide close monitoring during the entire procedure.
Sixty percent of each tooth is hidden below the gum line, but the veterinarian can see only the portion of the teeth visible above the gums. Oral bacteria that cause plaque and tartar accumulation on the tooth surface quickly migrate to the tooth root, causing periodontal ligament damage, tooth loo
sening, and root decay. Dental X-rays allow visualization of each complete tooth for disease diagnosis above and below the gum line.
A veterinary dental cleaning is similar to the cleaning you receive at the dentist’s office. Each cleaning involves a step-by-step approach to oral health, and includes:
Mild damage caused by dental disease can often be reversed with aggressive treatment and care, but loose, broken, and cracked teeth may require extraction. Diseased teeth may be identified during your pet’s initial dental exam, but irreparable damage is often not detected until a more thorough exam and X-rays are performed under anesthesia. Since your pet will already be relaxing comfortably, diseased teeth can be extracted after the cleaning to provide immediate relief.
After your pet’s teeth have been cleaned and she returns to you with pearly whites, at-home dental care will help to keep her mouth healthy. Our veterinary team will teach you how to keep your pet’s teeth sparkling long after her dental visit, including:
If you have questions about our dental services or would like to schedule a dental exam, contact our hospital. We will be happy to help you with your pet’s oral health.