Dentistry and Oral Health

What is the most common disease in dogs and cats?

Without a doubt, the most common disease affecting cats and dogs is periodontal disease. In fact, studies show that 85% of all cats and dogs we see have periodontitis and nearly 100% of all cats and dogs over the age of 4. Periodontitis has a negative impact on your pet’s health in many ways, affecting their level of comfort/pain, as well as potentially spreading bacteria to the liver, kidneys, brain, and heart.

So, what is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is the result of bacterial infections of the tissues that support the teeth and the body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria. Periodontitis starts when the tooth is coated with a thin layer of food debris after eating, called plaque. Within hours, this layer will thicken as debris and bacteria accumulate along the gum line. In only 24-48 hours, the plaque is transformed into calculus (tartar). The accumulation of bacteria along the gum line can damage the soft tissues and lead to substantial disease and loss of periodontal structures (that is loss of tissues between the tooth root and the jaw).

Most animals, even with severe periodontal disease, will exhibit NO signs of pain. They will continue eating and playing. Periodontitis can lead to bacteria and/or products of inflammation entering the bloodstream and causing injury to the kidneys, liver, brain, and heart.

We have developed a therapeutic plan to stop and even reverse the disease process in your pet.

How? First and foremost, a thorough examination is performed and a dental cleaning and evaluation is planned. The cleaning and evaluation of the teeth and mouth is performed under anesthesia. An accurate assessment and proper management of periodontitis requires anesthesia. Because of this, you will meet with the anesthetist prior to the procedure and rest assured we will take every precaution to make this as safe as possible.

Tartar (calculus), debris, and pus are cleaned away from the teeth and any abnormalities are noted in the patient’s dental chart. Any necessary strong>dental x-rays are taken and all procedures are finished with a thorough strong polishing with a high speed polisher and rinsing. Then specific therapies such as Doxirobe Gel implantation or tooth extraction are performed. Finally there is an application of a Fluoride Treatment and a sealant, OraVet if indicated.

Pain medications and antibiotics are administered before, during, and after a procedure when appropriate. Patients are carefully monitored until full recovery.

Follow up therapy is extremely important. All patients are seen again at 1 week post operatively to examine the teeth and gums and discuss patient status. A repeat cleaning and polishing is scheduled in 3-12 months, depending on your pets age and periodontal disease. The sooner we follow up, the better we are able to slow or prevent the progression of periodontal disease and bone loss. For many pets, 6 months is too late. If we wait longer, the infection will only cause more damage.

Our goal is to control and eliminate periodontitis. This can take some time, perhaps many follow up cleanings and rechecks. Most importantly it can be successful.

We understand the importance of promoting oral health as it is a key to long term health of our pets. We also understand that, when your pet has periodontitis, proper treatment and management can be expensive. We offer discounts and staging options as well as payment options to help keep your pet healthy.

What is the best treatment for your pet?

Daily oral care at home is the only way to prevent periodontal disease from continuing. Just as in human dentistry, daily toothbrushing is essential. Adjuctive treatments, such as raw hide chews, moutwashes, Oravet, and dietary change can be helpful, but are only a small part of at-home oral care.

We encourage you to ask us about tooth brushing and how to train your pet to accept a toothbrush in a fun manner. ost dogs and cats will take 2-4 weeks of training before effective toothbrushing is possible.

Be Patient and Persistent! Your pet will learn to enjoy the process and thank you for saving his teeth!