BUFFALO VETERINARIANS

SERVING BUFFALO MINNESOTA AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES

BUFFALO COMPANION ANIMAL CLINIC

Access your pets’ health information online.

DENTAL DISEASE and PREVENTION: THE BASICS

Dental care is often overlooked or ignored completely in our pets but plays a key role in their overall health. Periodontal disease is the #1 problem in small animals. Some common signs of dental or periodontal disease include:

Discolored teeth

Red or swollen gums

Persistent Bad Breath

Tartar accumulation around the gum line

Loose teeth

Reluctance to play with chew toys or drink cold water

Broken teeth

By the age of 3 years, 70-80% of all dogs and cats are

exhibiting signs of dental disease. Dental disease not only affects the oral cavity but can have serious implications on the heart, lungs, kidneys and other internal organs as well.

Three Steps to Healthy Teeth & Gums

1. BRUSH, BRUSH, BRUSH!!!

What’s the most important component of dental health for us?? Brushing, of course. It is the same for your pets. Teach your animals how to accept brushing daily or 2-3 days per week. Make sure to start slowly and eventually work up to using a soft toothbrush and pet toothpaste, which comes in great flavors like poultry and tuna! Be sure to use only pet toothpaste, as human toothpaste is not made to be swallowed. For more detailed instructions on how to institute the brushing routine please ask one of our staff members.

2. Diets/Treats/Oral Rinses

There are many diets on the market today that are

specifically formulated to decrease the rate of calculus and plaque formation on your pet’s teeth. Some examples

would be Purina DH and Hill's T/d diets. There are also several treats and chews available. Some examples are Greenies and CET chews. There are also several oral cleansing gels available. These gels won’t replace brushing but help to decrease bacterial populations in the mouth as well as disrupt the plaque film that leads to calculus formation. Although these products can be of some benefit, they need to be used in conjunction with professional cleaning and, ideally, brushing.

3. Dental Cleaning & Oravet Application

The best (and only) way to maintain healthy teeth and gums is through routine dental cleanings in addition to your daily home care. Your pet’s teeth are cleaned about the same way yours are at the dentist The biggest difference is that your pet will be under anesthesia for the procedure. All patients over 2 years of age will have pre-anesthetic bloodwork performed to help us identify any underlying problems that may increase anesthetic risk in your pet. An IV catheter is placed and IV fluids are given to all patients over 7 years of age and to those pets with chronic disease to minimize any problems that may arise during anesthesia and support the organs throughout the procedure.

The first step in the cleaning process involves removing tartar from the teeth with a combination of the hand and ultrasonic scalers. A thorough inspection of all teeth and soft tissues within the oral cavity is performed. If any abnormalities are seen dental x-rays and/or extractions may be necessary. Rest assured, extractions are not done unless the tooth is beyond saving or medical disorders make extractions necessary. All of the teeth are then polished to decrease the amount of rough surfaces on the teeth. Tartar accumulates on these rough areas, causing dental disease. An antimicrobial solution is used to flush detached tartar and associated bacteria from the oral cavity. If extractions are necessary your pet may be sent home on antibiotics and/or pain medication. In some cases, antibiotics will be started several days before the dental procedure takes place. Your veterinarian will decide whether this is the best option for your pet.

Oravet is then applied (with your consent). Oravet binds to the tooth surface, instituting a barrier so plaque-causing bacteria cannot bind to the tooth. Home care with Oravet involves

application of a gel to the teeth 2 weeks after the dental cleaning and then weekly thereafter.

Patients undergoing the dental cleaning procedure just spend the day with us and go home later that same afternoon. Usually that evening they are a little sleepy but otherwise act normally. Very rarely will pets require soft food, etc. after a routine cleaning but we will let you know if there are any special

instructions for your animal.

What Happens If I Don’t Have My Pet’s Teeth Cleaned When Recommended?

Bacteria from the oral cavity can spread to the heart,

kidneys, liver and other internal organs causing serious infection which may lead to organ failure.

Dental disease can progress to the point at which

numerous extractions are required.

Abscessed teeth are very painful and much more likely

to occur in diseased mouths.

Dental disease causes discomfort to your pet possibly

leading to decreased appetite and lethargy.

How Do I Know If My Pet Requires a

Dental Cleaning?

Their gums are red and inflamed

Your pet’s breath causes you to turn away

A yellow or brown substance coats their teeth

Your veterinarian recommends it!

Brushing, regular check-ups and following your veterinarian’s recommendations will provide your pet with healthy teeth & gums!!



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