The most common issue that veterinarians encounter is dental disease. More than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop tooth and gum disease by the time they are 3 years old.
Performing routine dental care is one of the best way to ensure your pet’s longevity. Good dental care is as important to your pet’s wellness as it is to yours. Like any dentist will tell you, plaque, tartar, gingivitis, and tooth decay can cause a whole variety of health problems and can only be prevented with good, consistent dental habits.
One example of a periodontal disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis inflames the gum tissue and will cause redness, swelling, and discomfort in your pet’s mouth. If gingivitis is left untreated, the disease can eventually become periodontitis.
Periodontitis may only be controlled and not completely cured and is a condition that is often seen in pets that are more than 5 years old. The disease causes severe inflammation around the roots of teeth, which can lead to the loss of teeth.
Bad breath is usually the first sign that your pet needs immediate dental care. Even though it may not sound like an important concern, it is evidence that bacteria are multiplying within your pet—the same bacteria that can cause heart, liver, and kidney disease.
Other indications are:
- Red, inflamed guns
- Yellow, brown, or discolored teeth
- Loose teeth
- Swollen mouth, jaws, or gums
Animal dentistry is quite unlike the dental process for humans. The care of our teeth and gums is a part of our daily ritual from a very young age. As a result, our visits to our dentists are usually brief, and we generally do not need to be sedated for our appointments. Conversely, veterinary dentistry requires anesthesia and, consequently, a day’s hospitalization as well as a skilled team. Procedures such as scaling and polishing must be performed under anesthesia and are very important to the whole of your pet’s health.
What are the risks of anesthesia?
Just as with humans, anesthesia has the potential to be risky for dogs and cats, even though incidents are rare. At Great Neck Veterinary Clinic, we do our best to minimize the risks of anesthesia by proactively assessing our patients and monitoring their needs throughout the procedure. These assessments include pre-anesthetic testing, inhalant gas, electronic and personal monitoring, and intravenous fluids.
To further decrease the risks, we will perform pre-surgical blood tests on your pet before we anesthetize him or her. Our technical team will carefully study each patient throughout the process to be sure that the pet is reacting properly to the anesthesia. We take care to only use very safe anesthetics and closely observe our patients for adverse reactions as they recover.
It is important to note that the negative impacts of neglecting dental care on the overall wellness of your pet greatly offset the risks of anesthesia.
Will my pet have to stay at the clinic overnight after a dental procedure?
On average, routine visits for dental cleanings are outpatient procedures. Patients should be checked-in between 7 and 9 a.m., after which the procedure will take place either in the late morning or early afternoon. Our patients are ready to return to their families on the same day. Whether your pet is receiving a simple cleaning, an X-ray, or an extraction, he or she should still be able to go home on the same day.
How long should I let my pet go between dental cleanings?
After the age of 3, the typical cat or dog will need a dental cleaning every one to two years. However, the caretakers of small dogs should keep in mind that those dog breeds may require a dental cleaning as often as every six months. Your Great Neck veterinarian team will be glad to assess your pet’s dental health and outline for you when cleanings will be needed. Most important, keep in mind that good oral hygiene doesn’t just happen at the clinic—it should also occur at home, which will increase the time between professional cleanings.