Periodontal disease is the most common ailment of dogs and cats! The good news is that we can treat and manage it. Regular home care and professional treatments are the first, and best, means of preventing periodontal disease. Treating early prevents pain and tooth loss in your fur baby.
At Union Hill Animal Hospital, we have a variety of products that help provide home dental care. We carry Oral Health Flakes (food additive), tooth brushes with a dental gel (pet-friendly toothpaste substitute), and Enzymatic Chews for our canine patients. For more information on these fantastic products, or other products that you may have come across, please feel free to call us or email the technicians.
Gold standard! The mechanical action of plaque removal is the benefit. We have pet-friendly dental gel available.
*Do not use human toothpaste.
Oral Health Flakes
Added daily to your pet’s food (wet or dry food) to help control plaque and tartar formation.
Dental chews can be very effective at controlling plaque and tartar formation. Healthier alternative to rawhides or nylabones. Given daily.
Kibble designed to perform a brushing action as your pet chews their food. Can be fed as treats, but more effective when fed as a sole diet.
The gold standard of home dental care is daily teeth brushing, just like we do for our oral health care. However, we understand how busy your life can get or challenging when your fur baby is less than cooperative at the process. Once teeth brushing is established, it is usually a very easy and fun procedure. We recommend starting by choosing a soft-bristled, or finger toothbrush properly sized for your pet's mouth. Next, introduce pet-friendly toothpaste from your veterinarian (we carry gel paste, in flavors seafood, poultry, or beef. Yum!). Do not use human toothpaste because it has detergents that should not be swallowed.
Since dental disease occurs below the gum line, scraping calculus off with your finger isn't enough. By removing calculus from the tooth, you are not removing disease below the gum line. In order to thoroughly help your pet, plaque and calculus must be removed from below the gum line, a procedure done by a licensed doctor under anesthesia.
We love cleaning up a dirty mouth! Below is a quick look at some of our transformations! All of our dental cleanings are done under anesthesia with your pet being monitored by a dedicated technician throughout to assure your kiddo has a great recovery for those night-time kisses and cuddles.
How can I tell if my pet is suffering from periodontal disease?The leading sign is bad breath. Dogs and cats should not have disagreeable mouth odor. Bad breath comes from infection. If your pet’s breath does not smell like roses, let us examine its mouth and advise care.
When do I have to start worrying about dental problems with my pet?As soon as puppy or kitten teeth emerge, it’s time to start getting them used to the tooth brush. Be extra gentle when doing this because as their adult teeth come in, their gums are temporarirly sensitive. Starting early ensures your puppy or kitten gets used to the brushing procedure, which we want to continue for life.
Why should I brush my dog’s or cat’s teeth?Daily removal of plaque is the key to an oral hygiene program. Unless your pet’s teeth are brushed daily, plaque, which is an accumulation of bacteria, will build up at the gum line. Eventually calculus forms, further irritating the gums, and then infection progresses to loosen and destroy the attachment of the tooth. In addition to loose teeth, infection under the gum-line can spread to the liver, kidneys, and heart.
What type of tests are done to diagnose dental disease?If your pet has periodontal disease or a fractured tooth, an oral exam is performed while under anesthesia. A periodontal probe is used to evaluate bone loss around each tooth. X-rays are taken to evaluate if the teeth can be saved or need to be extracted.
What are cat cavities?Many cats get painful lesions at the gum line that invade teeth. They are properly referred to as tooth resorptions. Unfortunately, we do not know what causes tooth resorption, and the most effective treatment involves extraction of the affected tooth.
How often does my pet need to have teeth cleaned by the veterinarian?It depends on the degree of plaque and tartar accumulation. You need to examine your pet’s teeth monthly. Look for an accumulation of yellow or brown material at the area where the tooth meets the gum-line especially over the cheek teeth and canines. Once you notice plaque or tartar accumulation, it is time for a professional cleaning. Do not wait. Attached to the tartar are bacteria, which irritate gum tissues. When treated, the inflammation will resolve. When gingivitis is left untreated, it will progress to periodontitis, which is non-curable. The intervals between teeth cleaning procedures will depend on how often you can brush your pet’s teeth. Once or twice daily cleaning is optimum. If you cannot brush the teeth, then your pet will probably need two or three teeth cleaning visits yearly.
Do you have to use anesthesia to clean my pet’s teeth?Anesthesia is necessary when performing teeth cleaning. Anesthesia provides three important functions: immobilization in order to clean below the gum line, pain control, and the ability to place a tube into the windpipe, so bacterial products do not enter the respiratory system.
I am concerned about the anesthesia. Is it safe?We take every effort to provide safe anesthesia. We use gas anesthetic agents; dogs and cats are given pre-operative tests depending on their age and condition to qualify them for anesthesia; and patients are monitored while anesthetized both visibly and with similar monitoring devices as used in human hospitals.
What is the best food for my pet?Hard food will help remove plaque from teeth. There are special diets specifically manufactured to help control plaque. Feeding the special diets in conjunction with daily brushing is the best to keep the teeth clean. Diet alone will not control plaque, but it will help.
What toys should I avoid to protect my pet’s teeth?Chewing on objects harder than teeth may lead to dental fractures. Be especially careful with cow hoofs, horse hoofs, extra firm nylabones, and antlers. They commonly cause fractures of the upper fourth premolars. Tug-of-war games must not be practiced, especially in young dogs and cats in order to avoid moving growing teeth to abnormal locations. Throwing dogs discs can also cause trauma to the teeth, resulting in pulpitis (an inflammation of the pulp). Let us recommend our Enzymatic Chews as a health alternative to rawhides.
What can you do to fix a broken tooth?If your dog or cat breaks a tooth, there are two treatments: root canal therapy or extraction. You cannot leave the tooth alone with an exposed nerve. In addition to pain, infection will soon develop that can spread to the rest of your pet’s body.
How do I schedule a dental cleaning?We recommend coming in for a free oral exam with one of our skilled technicians so we can access your pet's mouth and provide an accurate dental cleaning estimate. We preform dental cleanings Monday through Friday. Length of procedure depends on severity of periodontal disease (can range between 30 minutes to over 60 minutes. If severe disease, the doctor may recommend staging the procedure. That is to say, removal of the most diseased teeth, then returning in a few weeks to remove the remaining diseased teeth). Your fur baby goes home that afternoon with a fresh clean mouth for all those happy kisses! If extractions were performed, your baby will have pain medications to allow for comfortable healing.