Helpful Hints for Pet Dental Care

Doggy Breath is More Than Just Stinky

 Some people think that a dog’s bad breath is a trait inherent to the canine species, something that is completely unavoidable. However, bad breath is generally a result of the bacteria that live in the infected gum and dental tissue in your dog’s mouth, and there’s nothing normal about that. This odor is a sign of progressive dental disease. Treats and chew toys alone will not make this problem better, not without a thorough veterinary dental cleaning and a proper home care plan.

A proactive approach is the best way to prevent doggy dental issues. Here are some symptoms to be on the watch for:

  • Bad breath / Halitosis
  • Problems eating, loss of appetite (only in the most severe cases)
  • Red, swollen, bleeding gums (usually the molars in the back of the mouth)
  • Loose, broken, missing teeth
  • Blood in saliva or nasal discharge
  • Lesions in mouth

Should you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a veterinary appointment right away.

Your Dog is at the Vet, Now What?

During an oral exam, a veterinarian looks for any signs of abnormality or ill health. Veterinarians are trained to spot many different symptoms, including:

  • Overbite, underbite, malocclusion, teeth that don’t fit together
  • Gingivitis and periodontal disease
  • Facial swelling
  • Tartar buildup
  • Fractured or broken teeth
  • Cavities
  • Abscesses

Your veterinarian will develop a customized plan of prevention or treatment based on what is found during your dog’s dental exam.

Dog Dental Treatments

If dental issues are found, our veterinarian will explain what they mean for your dog and recommend the appropriate dental procedure. During this procedure, your dog is will be sedated and your veterinarian will then be able to conduct a more thorough exam. It is important to remember that half of the tooth is under the gum line, invisible to the human eye, therefore, it is imperative that x-rays are performed to compete assessment of the tooth. We do this digitally, so that your veterinarian will be able to quickly assess the health of the underlying tooth. Quite often a tooth may look completely normal but the roots are abscessed and a great source of pain for your dog. After determining whether extractions are necessary for abscessed or broken teeth to provide permanent relief, ultrasonic and hand scaling will remove plaque and tartar both above and below the gum line. A thorough scaling below the gum line is critical to the success of any dental cleaning, as this is where illness-causing bacteria hide. Polishing will then smooth the surface of the teeth after scaling, making them resistant to additional plaque formation.