I was totally unaware that dogs have
dental problems. Is it common?
disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats. Over 68% of all
pets over the age of three have some form of periodontal or dental
disease. Most pets will show few signs of dental disease. It is up
to the petís family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and
often painful condition.
Are dental problems the same
in pets and people?
man the most common problem is tooth decay which, due to the loss of
calcium from the enamel, results in painful infected cavities. In
the dog decay represents less than 10% of dental problems, the
majority of which are caused by periodontal disease.
is periodontal disease?
is simply inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the
tooth. Accumulation of tartar (calculus) on the teeth contributes to
gum recession around the base of the tooth. Infection soon follows
and the gums recede. Untreated infection then spreads into the tooth
socket and ultimately the tooth loosens and is lost.
Is periodontal disease very
It is estimated that over 68% of
dogs over three years old suffer from some degree of periodontitis,
making it by far the most common canine disease.
What is tartar and can it be
mouth of all mammals is home to thousands of bacteria. Many of these
bacteria will breed on the surfaces of the tooth and form an
invisible layer called plaque or biofilm. Some of this is removed
naturally by the dogís tongue and chewing habits but if allowed to
remain the plaque thickens, becomes mineralized and is then visible
as tartar (calculus). The tartar presses on the gums, which recede,
and the bacteria then result in gum inflammation and infection
(gingivitis). The gums continue to recede until ultimately the
socket is infected and the tooth is lost.
oral infection increases tonsillitis and pharyngitis can also occur.
In addition, the bacteria are absorbed into the blood stream and can
be carried to other organs. Heart valve infections (endocardiosis
or endocarditis), kidney and liver problems are frequently
due to bad teeth.
tartar be prevented?
is mineralized in some dogs much quicker than others. Special canine
toys as well as feeding the newer dental diets help reduce tartar
build up, as does regular home care Ė tooth brushing. Today there
are many products designed to reduce tartar in our dogs.
feeding dry food remove tartar?
tartar has formed it will be necessary to remove it with a
professional scaling and polishing under anesthesia. There are
exciting new dental diets that can help reduce the formation of
plaque and tartar in your pet.
is involved with a dental cleaning for my dog?
goal of dental scaling and polishing is to remove the tartar and
invisible plaque. We will perform pre-anesthesia blood tests to
ensure that kidney and liver function are satisfactory. Sometimes
antibiotic treatment is instituted before full dental prophylaxis is
carried out. We will be happy to discuss this with you.
scaling will be performed both by hand and using ultrasonic cleaning
equipment to remove tartar both above and below the gum line. The
tartar beneath the gum line causes the most significant gum
recession. The teeth are then polished in order to help prevent
subsequent plaque build-up. It may be necessary to carry out other
procedures at the same time such as extractions and special
applications such as fluoride may be indicated to decrease tooth
sensitivity and strengthen enamel.
procedures will be fully discussed both before your petís dental
cleaning and when you bring your pet in for the procedure. We will
need a telephone number where you can be reached during the dental
cleaning so that we can discuss any additional work that may be
indicated once we begin.
have to make an appointment for my dog to have a scale and polish?
We will perform pre-anesthesia blood tests and examine your pet for
any other underlying disorders.
can I prevent tartar accumulation after the procedure?
and tartar begin forming in as little as six hours after your petís
dental cleaning. We recommend beginning a home dental care program
for all pets. We will provide you with detailed instructions on how
to brush your petís teeth.
I use human toothpaste?
not use human dentifrice or toothpaste on any account. These are
foaming products and are not meant to be swallowed. Additionally,
many types of human toothpaste contain sodium, which may cause
problems in some pets.