Dental Care for Dogs and Cats
Dental care for your pets is not a luxury: it’s care that enables them to eat well and maintain strong mouths and normal digestion over time. Dental problems in pets are extremely common, but they’re easily prevented with regular care. And animals are not immune to the results of teeth or gum problems, although they may not show signs of discomfort. But they experience pain when their teeth or gums are deteriorating, just as people do.
That’s why regular professional cleaning is an important step in maintaining your pet's dental (and overall) health. Our doctors and their technician assistants are experts at providing dental care, and we use safe, modern ultrasound equipment to clean each tooth thoroughly - above and below the gum line. We keep your pets comfortable during their treatments, too and the results of maintaining good dental health are dramatic and obvious.
During the cleaning and other dental procedures, your dental technicians assist your doctor, polishing your pet’s teeth to create a smooth tooth surface, making them more resistant to plaque buildup. We also provide fluoride treatments to help strengthen enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity. Palm City Animal Medical Center also provides advanced dental care, including root canals, caps, and braces.
Why do your pets need regular dental care?
Approximately 85% of dogs and cats have dental or periodontal disease. Even with diligent dental home care, most pets will require a professional dental cleaning at least once in their lifetime to remove tartar that has accumulated. While this process involves brief anesthesia, dental cleanings done in this way are safe and assure a thorough examination and cleaning of every tooth – both above and below the gums.
Periodontal disease in our pets develops much as it does in people, with bacteria accumulating on the teeth to form a sticky film called plaque. This infection spreads down the tooth and even below the gums. Gum tissues react to the infection, causing inflammation called gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, and sometimes bleeding gums. Over time, if untreated, the plaque mineralizes and hardens to form tartar. Unchecked periodontal disease can lead to bad breath, bleeding gums, pain, infection, bone destruction, and even tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is not just about cosmetics or bad breath, however. Some studies even suggest that dental infections can result in serious infections in the heart, kidneys, and liver. Also, pain from dental disease can even lead to symptoms like aggression, depression, lethargy, and other behavioral problems.
Every pet is different and will have different needs, so consult with your veterinarian before beginning a home dental care regimen to supplement professional dental care. We encourage you to let us examine your pet every year to assess dental health so that disease can be identified early and treated appropriately. A proactive approach is certainly better than waiting until there is pain, infection, and tooth loss.