Pet Dental Health Facts

  • Adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth and cats have 30 permanent teeth.
  • By the age of 3, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs will have some form of periodontal oral disease.
  • Periodontal disease is the most common disease seen in dogs, especially the smaller breeds.
  • Periodontal disease begins with a buildup of bacteria in your pet’s mouth. This bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris between the tooth and gum, can cause plaque to accumulate on the tooth. As bacteria grows in the plaque and as calcium salts are deposited, plaque turns to tartar.
  • Tartar has a contributory role due to its roughened surface, which enhances bacterial attachment and further plaque development. It is also irritating to the gingival tissues.
  • Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to red, swollen and tender gums (see Stage 2 photo), bleeding, pain, bad breath, and eventual tooth loss.
  • The inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease can lead to damage of vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys, which can lead to serious health problems.

The Good News!!!

The risk of peridontal disease can be reduced, or even eliminated, by following these recommendations:

  • The first step in prevention or treatment is a routine physical examination, including a dental exam.
  • Practicing a regular dental care regimen at home, which may include brushing your pet’s teeth and/or utilizing specially formulated foods that assist with plaque removal.
  • Periodontal disease is very treatable and preventable and can greatly enhance the quality and duration of your pet’s life, even if your pet has been diagnosed with Stage 2 or higher disease. These patients will, however, require longer and more complex treatment plans as outlined by your veterinarian. The expense of treating these patients will increase as the disease is allowed to progress, which is why early intervention and prevention is so important.
  • Regular professional dental cleaning to remove existing tartar can help facilitate more effective home care. A dental cleaning by your veterinarian will help prevent the development of Stage 2 or greater periodontal disease, and takes an average of 45 minutes of total anesthesia time. This also allows for a thorough exam of the oral cavity and teeth, allowing for early detection and treatment of problems.

Common Questions Pet Owners Ask

What is the cost of having a routine dental cleaning? Our staff will be very glad to develop a treatment plan designed specifically for your pet’s species and age.

Why does my pet have to be anesthetized? Unlike ourselves, our pets won’t sit in a chair quietly for us to scale and polish their teeth. Without their being asleep we are unable to reach and clean each tooth or perform a thorough oral exam.

What are the risks of anesthesia? Anesthesia is never without risks, however, we strive to minimize those risks by utilizing the following tools:

  • Checking blood work to ensure that kidneys and liver are functioning properly. Most drugs used during the course of anesthesia are metabolized by these organs. This is especially important if your pet is a senior citizen or has periodontal disease greater than Stage 2.
  • The use of intravenous catheter and fluids during the procedure. This ensures a direct route to a vein if there were to be an emergency. It also allows us to help maintain healthy blood pressure, which protects vital organs.
  • We use monitoring equipment that allows us to track heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, saturated oxygen levels and blood pressure.
  • We utilize the most currently available drugs on the market and tailor them towards the specific needs of your pet such as age, species and breed.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to call us.