Dental care and the onset of dental disease is a number one medical problem that affects many dogs. Lack of proper oral care results in bad breath, discolored teeth and red, swollen and sore gums. Many of these signs are symptoms of periodontal disease. A buildup of bacteria in the mouth resulting from poor oral care can affect more than the mouth. Other organs are affected as well such as heart, kidney and liver disease.
As a pet parent, you are always encouraged to begin a weekly dental regimen at home for the health and well being of your dog and those pearly whites. Just as we need to practice good oral hygiene, it is just as necessary for our canine best friend. Routinely brush your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush and doggy toothpaste at least three times per week.
In between at-home oral care and brushings, there is a variety of dental chews and dental bones to provide your dog as an extra treat. Your dog will love them and you and not realize the good he/she is doing for the teeth and gums. Feeding your dog a dental diet of dry dog food rather than wet also helps in warding off dental disease.
With all your at home efforts, it will still be important to visit with your veterinarian at least once a year. A complete physical and oral examination is performed to assess your dog’s needs. Most often a yearly professional dental cleaning is necessary, especially dogs at least five years of age and older. Veterinary oral care options include dental cleanings which can help to keep periodontal disease at bay for your dogs’ best oral health care.
When your dog goes in for the cleaning procedure, anesthesia will be given for a safe and painless sleep. The start of the procedure involves removing all tartar with an ultra sonic and hand scaling implement. Each tooth is then examined individually. Testing is done for any gingivitis pockets and any abnormal gum tissue, inflammation and oral growths are recorded. Radio-graphs are then taken of the entire mouth. With any gum inflammation and abscess, an anti-biotic gel is infused around the teeth to encourage healing of the gums.
Occasionally a further problem is noted during a routine dental cleaning which may need further attention. If this happens, you will be notified to ask if you wish further treatment while your dog is still under anesthesia. A biopsy may be necessary and/or referral to a veterinary dental specialist in some cases. Once the entire procedure is done and your dogs’ teeth are a shiny white, your dog will be allowed to wake up before being released into your care.
When you bring your dog home from a professional cleaning, if never before, this is the best time to start a perfect at-home oral care program. Do all you can to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease and provide a happy healthy mouth . . . and smile in your dog.