Costa Mesa, CA veterinarian discusses the importance of pet dental care
The relationship between oral health and whole-body wellness is getting increased attention in the human sector. Yet most people don’t readily recognize the mouth-body connection in pets. Dr. Rand Spongberg shares this information on the importance of dental care to help pet patients live longer, happier lives with their owners in the Cost Mesa, CA area.
Brushing up on the benefits of animal dentistry
Just like people, dogs and cats get gum disease. It occurs when the balance of the mouth is upset (usually by a high-starch or sugar diet, medical condition, or lack of hygiene) allowing harmful bacteria to overpopulate. These organisms form a sticky film of plaque that serves two purposes. It protects bacteria from being cleared from the mouth during swallowing, and it traps food particles that bacteria feast upon. Without dental care, plaque hardens into tartar at the gum line, presenting as yellow, brown, or greenish deposits.
As they eat, bacteria produce acidic waste that irritates delicate gum tissue and triggers an inflammatory response. At this stage you probably notice that your pet has persistent foul breath. Gums pull away, exposing tooth roots, leaving them prone to decay without the protection of enamel. Bacteria penetrate more deeply gradually destroying periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone that hold teeth in place.
Now your pet is in daily discomfort and has teeth that must be extracted. Meanwhile, bacteria enter the bloodstream through compromised gum tissue, sometimes with grave results. Systemic inflammation can cause permanent heart, kidney, and liver damage.
Does your pet have gum disease?
Prevention is the best approach to preserve your pet’s dental health. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, please schedule a veterinary visit right away:
- Bad breath.
- Chewing on one side.
- Difficulty picking up food.
- Frequent sneezing or nasal discharge (in advanced cases, bone between the oral and nasal cavities is destroyed).
- Loose teeth.
- Lumps in the mouth.
- Red or bleeding gums (you may find blood on toys or in the water dish; or see ropey, red saliva).
- Shyness about head touching.
- Vocalization when the pet yawns or eats.
New Patients: (949) 430-7576, Existing Patients: (949) 642-7151
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What you need to know about dog teeth cleaning
At All Creatures Care Cottage, your best friend gets more than a teeth cleaning. We provide a comprehensive oral examination with dental charting to note abnormal, missing, extra, damaged, or loose teeth. The doctor checks for soft tissue abnormalities and signs of infection. These issues are addressed medically, if necessary.
Cleaning begins. Tartar is removed from the visible portion of teeth (crowns). Surfaces below the gum line are cleaned and smoothed to encourage a tight seal of gums to teeth. Using a periodontal probe, the sulcus or pocket around each tooth is measured to determine if periodontal disease is present, and if so, the severity. If measurements are concerning, the doctor may recommend low-radiation digital x-rays to evaluate what is going on beneath gums. Deeper cleaning may be advised, or application of a topical antibiotic. Then, teeth are polished to an attractive gleam.
With good nutrition and regular dental cleanings, your pet may never experience the discomfort of oral disease . . . nor you the expense of treating it. The pet’s overall health will benefit, and you will have a companion with white teeth and fresher breath.
Cats need dental care, too!
While cats are not as likely to get sweet and starchy human tidbits, they are still prone to gum disease and other dental problems. In addition, “wet food” tends to coat teeth, contributing decay and gum disease. Help your feline friend live well, with regular veterinary dental care.
With or without anesthetic
Did you know that your pet may not have to be anesthetized for dental care? At All Creatures Care Cottage, we offer the option of non-anesthetic dentals. This can be a good option for the pet who has a medical condition that makes anesthetic risky, or to routinely maintain a clean mouth for the pet who does not have serious oral problems. Our technicians are experienced at removing plaque and tartar and polishing teeth with only gentle restraint necessary.
Once, dogs and cats had a natural diet and lifestyle that minimized the risk of dental problems. Today’s pets, however, need your help in staying healthy and happy. Call All Creatures Care Cottage to learn more about the importance of pet dental care, or to schedule an appointment. The number in Costa Mesa, CA is (949) 430-7576.