Unfortunately, dental hygiene for dogs and cats is overlooked and too few people brush their pet’s teeth frequently enough to prevent plaque from developing into tartar. When teeth are not attended to a bacterial film called plaque forms over the teeth and will form into a hard brown substance called tartar within 24 to 48 hours. Remember, do NOT use human toothpaste, use enzymatic animal toothpaste to prevent your family pet from getting ill.
What happens when plaque and dental tartar are ignored? The results are not good. The bacteria sitting on the teeth cause bad breath, then the gums become inflamed (commonly known as gingivitis), this can result in tooth root abscesses and pain. The tooth may be lost or require significant dental work for reconstruction. Additionally, the bacteria on the teeth may lead to pneumonia, cardiac disease, kidney disease, or other blood-borne infections.
As all humans know, routine dental examinations are needed for us to maintain good oral hygiene, routine cleaning of your pet’s teeth is also needed at regular intervals. This is something we just don’t usually think about. Below you’ll see the differences in a pet’s mouth before and after a cleaning, as well as examples of our digital x-rays and what they can show the veterinarian for diagnostics.
At Chiquita Animal Hospital we have state of the art nitrogen powered dental cleaning stations. With a prophylaxis cleaning of teeth we scale, root plane (removing bacteria below the gum line) and polish the teeth. For mouths with more advanced disease we have digital x-ray that can detect defects below the gum line. Teeth with enamel defects can be bonded and sealed, with an ultraviolet light cured compound, thus preventing bacteria from entering the tooth through the defect. However, some teeth are too infected to save and extractions are our only option.