Dental disease is the most commonly recognized abnormality on a physical exam of a dog or a cat. If pets don't get regular dental cleanings and check-ups, plaque, a film of bacteria, builds up on teeth surfaces. This plaque eventually turns to tartar (yellow/brown layering), and then tartar hardens to calculus, a very hard concrete-like layering that is composed of bacteria. If it remains on the tooth surface, tartar and calculus eventually erode the overlying gums and, in severe cases, erosion of the tooth roots and bone surrounding tooth roots occurs (called periodontal disease), resulting in a diseased tooth in need of extraction.
We advise home care such as brushing and feeding an oral health diet or treats can help slow plaque buildup, and yearly dental cleanings help remove heavy buildup, so periodontal disease is avoided. Diseases of the mouth and teeth, specifically gingivitis and periodontal disease, can cause significant pain when eating and can cause dramatic behavior changes in our pets. Some signs of mouth and tooth disease to be aware of include:
- Bad breath
- Reduced appetite
- Preference for soft food or table scraps over normal hard food
- Chewing on one side of mouth or slow or deliberate chewing
- Reduction in grooming behavior (mostly cats)
- Pawing at mouth/face
- Excessive slobbering/salivation
- More sneezing than normal
- Nasal discharge
- Acting head shy (not allowing petting of head, possible aggression when head touched)
*Periodontal disease treatment plans may incur additional charges for such things as dental extractions, pain medications, antibiotic or other home care items if required. Estimated treatment plans will be provided at the time of the dental cleaning.