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According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. That is exactly why it is so important to get your pet in for routine exams, to keep an eye on tartar build up and hopefully work on prevention. Rather than waiting too long then having to deal with treatments, some cases in which the damage may be irreversible.
A more serious consequence of dental disease occurs when the infection that is always present with heavy tartar buildup and inflamed gums spreads by way of the bloodstream to other body organs such as the heart, lungs or brain.
All pets should also have an intravenous catheter placed and intravenous fluids run during the procedure. This helps to maintain blood pressure and kidney function.
Dentistry should be done under isofluorane or Sevoflo anesthesia, which are currently the safest types available. They produce a quick recovery which is important since dental patients typically go home the same day.
It is also important to dispense an antibiotic after the dentistry which will clear up any remaining bacterial infection in the mouth and reduce the possibility of infection spreading from the mouth to other body organs. One good antibiotic for this purpose is called Clavamox.
Now, unfortunately, sometimes if you wait too long to have your pets' teeth examined, too much time may have passed, which may have caused irreversible damage. When the time comes to finally have a dental cleaning done, your pet may have to undergo a series of dental x-rays and extractions, depending on the severity, of course. Although you may think that having teeth extracted would minimize your pet's overall quality of life, this is not the case. Yes, they will have missing teeth; some pets may have to lose all their teeth or at least the majority, but they will still go on to live a very normal life with less pain and overall better health. Unlike people, pets have a great ability to adapt fairly quickly to new obstacles. Leaving infected/ rotten teeth in, increases the chances of spreading infection through the body, if it hasn't happened already, so if need be, please make the wise and appropriate decision for your pet. Schedule a dental examination today!
If any teeth are extracted, the mouth may be tender for a few days. It is a good idea in that case to feed a softer diet at first. In any case, feeding on the day of the dentistry procedure should be kept to a minimum. This is because even though fully alert, pets are still under the influence of the anesthetic agent and may have difficulty swallowing or even vomit or regurgitate their food. We also send home pain medication, already included in our dental cleaning package, to add a boost to a happy recovery!
After the dentistry, there are several methods that may be used to slow down the buildup of plaque and tartar and therefore lessen the frequency of dental cleanings:
Small toothbrushes and finger brushes are available to make your job easier. Flavored toothpastes make it more pleasant for your pet. For best results, teeth should be brushed once a day. Reward your pet after every brushing session; even if you might not get to the brushing, start slow with letting them taste the toothpaste. Then let them get used to having the toothbrush in their mouth, practice with finger brushes, they work great! After a while, if you continue to practice every day, it won't be long until your pets' teeth look brand new!
2. Hill's t/d Prescription Diet
Now available for cats as well as dogs (regular size and small bites), Prescription Diet T/D is a tartar control diet that very effectively reduces tartar and plaque buildup. It really works!
(Not sold in commercial pet stores, only available for sale by a Veterinarian)