Do you how many teeth are in an adult dog's mouth? The answer to that questions is 42. Did you know that 2/3 of the tooth is below the gum line? That means that 2/3 of periodontal disease is also located below the gum line. That is why it is so important to have your pet's teeth cleaned under sedation!
Professional dental treatments are performed under anethesia, allowing your pet's airway to remain clean at all times, prevents aspiration pneumonia, allowing your pet's teeth to be cleaned subgingivally (below the gum line), and allowing other tasks to be performed that could not be correctly done in an awake or twilight sedated patient.
The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of periodontal disease by age 3. They also report that the number one disease in all dogs and cats is periodontal disease - the good news is that it is treatable! Regular
brushing of your pet's teeth, using special dental formulated foods/treats, and water additives are some ways you can help maintain a healthy mouth of your pet. Unfortunately, many times, this effort is not enough - as many dental problems are caused by "bad genetics." Small breed dogs such as Yorkies, Shih Tzus, and Chihuahas have genetically bad teeth and are prone to periodontal disease and other dental problems.
Periodontal disease is the inflammation of the tooth support structures. It is caused by plaque and tartar build up leading to gingivitis and periodontitis. Bacterial plaque is the leading contributor to periodontal disease. Plaque is the silky, white film that, if untreated, hardens into calculus or tartar. As the tartar and plaque buildup on the tooth, it drives the bacteria down into the gum-line, issolating and protecting the bacteria from oxygen. The bacteria can then begin to attack the surrounding tissue, causing infections which can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis.
Did you know that bad breath is one of the first signs of periodontal disease? Halitosis (bad breath) is the combination of bacterial growth, rotting food particles, and unhealthy tissue. Other signs of periodontal disease includes:
Swollen mouth, jaws, or gums
Doesn’t play with chew toys as often
Not only does periodontal disease diminish your pet's quality of life and cause pain, it can lead to other serious health problems. The mouth is the gateway to your pet's body. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in both local and systemic diseases. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the blood stream and cause problems for the heart, liver, kidneys, and other major organs. Studies have shown that untreated periodontal disease can shorten your pet's life by 1-3 years.
Dental health assements and treatments are not a "one-and-done" fix. These exams are equally important as puppy/kittens as they are as adults and seniors. If your pet's baby teeth are not correctly replaced with their adults, a baby tooth may be retained. This retained baby tooth can cause problems such as gum irritation and food buildup. Depending on your pet, oral exams and treatments may be needed every 3-18 months. Plaque can begin to redevelop on your pet's teeth as soon as 12 hours after a professional cleaning.
A clean start is just the begining of ongoing dental health. Butler Veterinary Clinic has been participating the National Feburary Dental Health Month for years to encourage pet owners to maintain yearly dental assessments and treatments. Again, we will be offering complemenatary dental exams to all pets between January 15th and March 31st. We are also offering discounts on our oral health assements and treatments, a take home dental care package, and a free bath to all pets that have their yearly oral health treatments scheduled during this time.