Dental care is not always prioritized when caring for cherished companions. It’s so often neglected that dental disease is one of the leading conditions that veterinarians diagnose. This may be due to the fact that your feline or canine companion dislikes having their teeth brushed. While brushing is important, there are other ways you can care for their dental health. A yearly dental cleaning is mandatory, and you can also use dental chews to help scrape off plaque and bacteria. If you are having a difficult time caring for your loyal companion’s teeth, please reach out to us at 604-273-3158.
What are signs of dental disease?
Dental disease develops when leftover food particles mix with saliva and bacteria and forms a film over the teeth. This film, known as plaque, gives their teeth a yellow tint and over time hardens and becomes tartar, which can only be removed during a professional cleaning. This is when you start noticing more obvious signs of dental disease such as:
- Bleeding gums
- Chewing abnormally
- Excessive drooling
- Loose teeth
- Red or swollen gums
- Pawing at the face
- Bad breath
How is dental disease diagnosed?
During dental evaluations/cleanings, the patient is given anesthesia in order to safely probe around. Once the patient is under anesthesia, we can look for signs of dental disease and examine teeth that are usually hard to reach. Dental X-rays are extremely useful to locate disease below the gum line at which the eyes cannot see. X-rays can also identify fractures, tumours and cysts. After the evaluation is complete, we will perform the cleaning or treatment. A dental cleaning for your cat or dog is similar to what you would experience at your dentist.
How often should I brush my cat or dog’s teeth?
For the best results, you should brush your feline or canine pal’s teeth every day. That’s easier said than done, considering how much they don’t enjoy it, but starting early and establishing a routine can help. For their safety, you must use a pet-safe toothbrush and a toothpaste made specifically for cats or dogs. During a dental visit, our team can demonstrate how to safely clean their teeth at home.
What happens during a dental cleaning?
Your loyal companion’s teeth will be thoroughly cleaned by manual scaling and an ultrasonic scaler. A registered veterinary technician will perform the cleaning and if there is anything beyond cleaning, a veterinarian will be involved. We also hand-scale below the gum line (where 60% of dental disease exists) to remove harmful plaque and tartar. Each tooth will be polished with a pumice paste to smooth the microscopic etching that occurs during scaling to help slow the re-formation of plaque. We will complete a detailed dental chart, noting any abnormalities or areas of concern for your future reference. At the end of the appointment, we then discuss the findings, recommendations and treatment plan with you. The next day, we call to see how your feline or canine is recovering.
Review the video below for a comprehensive look at what is involved in a dental cleaning.