Pet Dental Care

We recommend having your pet’s teeth checked and cleaned at least 

ONCE A YEAR.

Dental care is an important and often overlooked factor in keeping your pet healthy and happy. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by three years of age. Consistent home dental care and routine professional examinations can help prevent problems like bad breath or oral infections.

SIGNS YOUR PET NEEDS DENTAL CARE

There are many different ways to check and see if your pet may be having dental issues, but there are also signs that may not be as visible. This is why veterinarians recommend having your pet’s teeth checked annually. Here are some things to keep an eye (or nose) out for:

Bad breath
Broken, lose, or missing teeth
Discoloration or tartar build up
Excessive chewing or drooling
Reduced appetite or inability to chew
Swelling and bleeding in or around the mouth
cat and dog dental care

Common Pet Dental Care Questions

SUNSET’S PET DENTAL CARE PROCEDURE
We know your pet’s overall health is very important to you as a pet parent. Our Dental Care Procedure is comprehensive and provides dentistry services for dogs and cats that include:

  • Professional Cleaning
  • A Physical and Oral Examination
  • Calculus Removal
  • Irrigation
  • Polishing Teeth
  • Sub-Gingival Scaling, Root Planning and Curettage
  • Post-Cleaning Examinations
  • Recording Abnormalities
  • Detailed Instructions for Home Care
  • Digital Radiographs (Optional; for Additional Fee)

We also carry a variety of products, such as pet toothbrushes and toothpaste, dental chews, rinses and special diets, to promote routine dental care at home.

Dental radiographs, or X-rays, allow us to see the area beneath the gumline where up to 75% of tooth structure lies. By taking full-mouth radiographs, we can more accurately diagnose very common diseases. Studies have shown dental disease is incompletely diagnosed 70% of the time without X-rays. Common findings using dental radiography include: periodontal disease, tooth resorptions, impacted teeth, retained root fragments, dead teeth, broken tooth roots and abscessed teeth.

We generally recommend a set of full-mouth X-rays at six months of age in conjunction with the spay or neuter procedure or with the first dental cleaning. Follow-up X-rays will be recommended based on the type and extent of disease present. Without X-rays, most of our patients would suffer in silence with a painful mouth.

  • Bad breath is not normal and is a sign of serious oral infection.
  • Most animals have at least one painful tooth and no way to communicate.
    Dental infections can affect the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.
  • Dental disease is the most common problem of dogs and cats, yet is commonly overlooked.
  • Once yearly (twice-yearly for some) professional dental cleanings and adequate home care throughout the life of the pet is recommended.

Dental care for your pet is a team approach, with you as a vital player. Our job is to provide an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for the diseases of the mouth. Your job is to provide consistent and effective home care. In as little as three hours after a professional cleaning, bacterial plaque is present on the teeth. This slimy substance can easily be removed with a toothbrush. Once the plaque is removed, it prevents the inflammatory response known as gingivitis, which is the precursor to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease causes pain and infection, which has been tied to diseases of the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Think of your pet’s teeth much like your own in regard to the care you provide and the benefits of these methods. The following is a concise breakdown of available home care methods.

TOOTH BRUSHING

  • Most effective and least expensive home care method
  • Twice daily is ideal, but even once daily is beneficial.
  • Most pets can be trained to accept brushing, even if it is not started until they are adults. Remain calm, and gradually train them.
  • Start slow. Pet in a corner. Rub gums with moist finger. Talk gently and encourage. Give treat. Add finger brush. Give a reward. When ready, move on to a soft-bristled toothbrush. Move to an electric brush with time.

ORAL RINSES

  • Have an antiseptic action against bacteria
  • Moderately effective compared to brushing
  • Can be combined with brushing
  • Applied once daily after feeding

DENTAL DIETS (HILL’S PRESCRIPTION DIET T/D)

  • Most convenient
  • Specially designed food nugget reduces plaque as pet chews

DENTAL-FRIENDLY CHEWS

  • Convenient for pet parents and entertaining for pet
  • Need to be hard enough to help remove plaque, but not hard enough to damage the teeth
  • Should be able to be indented with your thumbnail
    Should be able to be bent at a 90° angle
  • Basic rule of thumb—If you would not want to be hit in the kneecap with it, it’s too hard! We recommend CET Chews and Greenies.

SANOS VETERINARY DENTAL SEALANT

  • Helps prevent bacteria from getting under the gums
  • Must be applied initially at dental cleaning time and is designed to last six months
  • It is not recommended to perform other types of home care with this product
  • One last resource is the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), which is an independent corporation that puts products to the test. If they pass the testing for effectiveness, they receive their approval and stamp. For a list of dental products that meet their standards, visit www.VOHC.org.

There are risks involved with the use of general anesthesia; however, most anesthetic complications can be avoided by close monitoring and excellent patient care. Anesthesia is absolutely necessary for safe and effective dental care. At Sunset Animal Hospital, we take anesthesia safety very seriously. Only the most modern and safest anesthesia medications and protocols are used at our facility. Also, we monitor anesthetic depth very closely, both physically and with the latest technology to ensure that only the amount needed is used for the procedure. In fact, there is a much lighter dose needed than other procedures, such as spays and neuters. The risk of harm from the presence of dental disease is much higher than the risk of well-monitored and properly supported anesthesia.

Get the best care for your best friend.

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