Most pet owners schedule annual pet wellness exams for their pet to evaluate their general health. Many, however, tend to neglect their pet’s oral health. Lack of oral care can result in your pet developing serious dental issues like periodontal disease which can cause tooth loss. These FAQs from Fleur Pet Hospital, your local animal hospital in Des Moines, will explain why dental preventative care is so important for your furry friend.
How common is periodontal disease in pets?
Periodontal disease, aka gum disease, is very common in dogs and cats. It is a leading cause of tooth loss. It’s caused by plaque and tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth. Periodontal infections that have spread below your pet’s gum line can cause deterioration of the bone structure and lead to tooth loss. If the infection enters your pet’s bloodstream, it can spread to its internal organs, causing heart, kidney, and liver problems.
What are some signs my pet may need dental care?
Several signs can indicate your pet needs dental care. These include:
- A red stripe along your pet’s gumline
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- A foul odor coming from your pet’s mouth
- Loss of appetite or difficulty chewing
- Discolored or loose teeth
- Facial swelling
- Constantly pawing or rubbing its face on furniture or carpets
What role do annual exams and cleanings play in protecting my pet’s teeth?
Annual dental exams and cleanings are an essential part of veterinary care. They help preserve the health of your pet’s gums and teeth to avoid premature tooth loss. Routine exams uncover dental problems early so they can be treated quickly before they escalate into major issues. Professional cleanings by your vet can remove plaque and tartar buildup to prevent gum disease. Pet nutrition also plays a role in keeping your pet’s teeth healthy and strong.
Why does my pet need anesthesia for dental exams?
Anesthesia keeps your pet quiet and still, so your veterinarian can examine, x-ray and clean your pet’s teeth, particularly under the gumline where harmful bacteria breed. Sedating your pet keeps it from feeling pain and discomfort during the cleaning process.
How often should I have my dog or cat’s teeth cleaned?
That depends on your pet’s current oral health. The vet can check your pet’s teeth during the annual pet wellness exam. At that time, we can determine if a cleaning is in order or if your pet requires additional treatment to restore its oral health.