Dental disease (i.e., periodontal disease) is dogs’ and cats’ most common preventable condition. To help prevent your pet from experiencing gingivitis, fractured or infected teeth, tooth loss, and organ damage, they need regular professional and at-home dental care. Learn how routine professional dental cleanings by our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team can improve your pet’s oral health, longevity, and quality of life.
Plaque, tartar, and your pet
Your pet’s mouth is full of bacteria, especially after they eat. Oral bacteria feed on food debris and replicate rapidly, forming a fuzzy film (i.e., biofilm, or plaque) over the tooth in as few as 24 hours. Left undisturbed, this film hardens into mineralized tartar (i.e., calculus), creating a greater surface area for more bacterial growth. As if that weren’t enough, plaque bacteria spread below the gumline, causing gingivitis, and ultimately attacking the tooth root and the surrounding ligaments and bone, progressing to periodontal disease.
Why we recommend twice-yearly dental cleanings for pets
Because most oral damage takes place below the gumline, we recommend your pet receive twice-yearly professional dental cleanings and care. Professional dental cleanings ensure our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team can identify and address your pet’s dental disease in its earliest stages—when the condition is most treatable—and take preventive measures to minimize the disease’s damage or delay its progression.
Rather than waiting until your pet is visibly suffering from well-established dental disease, requiring your veterinarian to take extensive—and costly—measures (e.g., multiple extractions, dental surgery), routine cleanings can help your pet remain pain-free and enjoy a great quality of life. Benefits of professional dental cleanings include:
- Minimized suffering or pain — Frequent dental care helps ensure your pet avoids suffering in silence from undetected oral disease.
- Affordable cost — Routine care is more economical than fees charged for extensive dental repairs or extractions.
- Reduced recovery — Pets with healthy teeth and gums require fewer extractions during their lifetime.
- Enhanced quality of life — Helping maintain your pet’s dental health reduces their risk for disease-related complications (e.g., chronic pain, and kidney, heart, or lung damage).
What happens during your pet’s dental cleaning
Veterinary dental procedures are similar to human dentistry, with one major exception—to ensure patient safety, comfort, and complete stillness, pets must be anesthetized for all of their dental care, including routine cleaning. Click here to learn about our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team’s commitment to patient anesthesia safety. Pets’ dental cleaning process includes the following:
- Continuous patient vitals monitoring — Monitoring ensures your pet’s safety and comfort while under anesthesia and during recovery.
- Digital dental X-rays — X-rays provide information about each tooth’s roots and surrounding bone.
- Complete oral cavity exam — Your veterinarian assesses all oral structures, including your pet’s teeth, gums, tongue, palate, and upper airway.
- Dental charting — Each tooth and its condition are noted in the medical record.
- Periodontal pocket measurement — Gaps between the tooth and gum can indicate dental disease.
- Tooth scaling — Ultrasonic scaling removes mineralized calculus and plaque bacteria lurking below the gumline.
- Tooth polishing — Polishing smooths out the microgrooves created by the scaling process.
- Dental extractions or treatments — If necessary, your veterinarian may perform tooth removal and other dental procedures. Your veterinarian may use laser therapy to treat painful and inflamed oral areas.
Why every pet receives full mouth dental X-rays
Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team uses digital dental X-rays to identify subgingival (i.e., below the gumline) dental disease. X-rays help ensure that no pathology is missed, allowing us to diagnose and treat subtle dental changes before they cause your pet unnecessary suffering.
Dental X-rays provide detailed images of each tooth from crown to root, as well as the supporting structures and surrounding bone. By viewing your pet’s dental X-rays, your veterinarian can identify or confirm the following common oral conditions:
- Fractures (i.e., broken teeth or jaw)
- Retained teeth
- Tooth resorption (i.e., in cats, feline oral resorptive lesions [FORL])
- Tooth decay (i.e., cavities)
- Bone loss
Keeping clean during the in between—caring for your pet’s teeth at home
Diligent home care is the best way to extend the benefits of your pet’s professional dental cleanings. Best at-home oral care practices include:
- Daily toothbrushing with pet-safe toothpaste
- Feeding a veterinary dental diet
- Giving your pet dental treats and chews approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)
- Adding antiplaque additives to your pet’s water
- Forgoing giving your pet hard chews and toys (e.g., bones, antlers, hooves, inflexible plastic toys)
Maintaining and protecting your pet’s oral health and hygiene is easy when you partner with our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team for twice-yearly professional dental examinations and regular cleanings. Schedule your pet’s dental consultation today with our caring southeast Texas team.