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If you’ve ever had a dental problem, you know how painful these issues can become. Our mission here at West Park Animal Hospital is to help your pets live the longest, best, life possible and routine dental care is an important part of keeping them healthy and comfortable. Dental care is one of the most important components of a pet’s overall health, but sadly, it’s also one of the most neglected. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Dental College, more than 50% of all dogs and cats have some form of gum disease by just 3 years of age. Dental disease can cause a number of problems for your pet, including heart, liver, and kidney disease, if allowed to progress to its most advanced stage (advanced periodontitis).
At West Park Animal Hospital, we take a preemptive approach to pet dental health to help lower the number of dogs and cats affected by gum disease. That’s why we recommend that you bring your pet in for a comprehensive wellness exam at least once a year. During these visits, we can examine your pet’s mouth to determine if a cleaning is necessary.
About our Dental Services:
Our hospital is equipped with a full dental suite, which allows us to perform several pet dentistry services in-house. These services are intended to not only treat pet dental disease, but to prevent it. For the safety of our patients, we perform all dental procedures under general anesthesia. All patients have pre-anesthetic blood work performed prior to dental care and are given an IV catheter, fluids, and a pain block. We also monitor each patient’s vital signs before, during, and after treatment using advanced monitoring equipment. Our pet dental services include:
- Pre-anesthetic bloodwork
- General anesthesia
- Local pain blocks and preventative pain care
- Thorough oral exam
- Full mouth dental x-rays
- Ultrasonic scaling (teeth cleaning)
- Polishing of the teeth
- Extractions and minor gum surgery
- Extensive anesthetic monitoring
Does my pet need dental care?
In most cases, the answer to this question can be easily determined by simply examining your pet’s teeth. The following is a list of some of the most common signs that are associated with gum disease in pets. Our doctors and technicians can perform a thorough evaluation of your pet’s mouth to make an official diagnosis. However, we recommend that you become familiar with these signs so you can be more proactive about your companion’s oral health. Our pet dentistry services are performed by a veterinarian and include:
- Gingivitis-red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Yellow or brown tartar build up
- Periodontal disease-receding gum lines, visible roots of the teeth or large pockets around the teeth.
- Signs of pain or swelling around the muzzle or mouth that can be associated with abscesses or cavities
- Excessive drooling
- Loose or fractured teeth
- Difficulty eating or keeping food in the mouth
- Pawing at the face/mouth area
One of the most common questions we have is “why does my dog’s breath smell?” While there may be several answers to that question, often our physical exam will reveal that dental disease is the culprit. Bacteria that cause the build-up of plaque and tarter as well as a concurrent infection can create a terrible odor in your pet’s mouth. More importantly, however, these changes can also be a source of pain. Even products such as dental chews or rinses that claim to eliminate bad breath often only provide a few minutes to a few hours of temporary relief. The only way to get to truly eliminate bad pet breath is to get to the true source of the odor (plaque, tarter, infection and inflammation) through a professional dental cleaning and treatment of diseased teeth and gums. Our highly trained veterinarians would be happy to answer any questions you may have about this procedure as well as recommend some at home oral care products that can help slow the progression or return of dental disease.