Gucci – our Dental Health Patient of the Month!
Gucci is an 11 year old Yorkie with Grade 4 Dental Disease. In November, Gucci came in for life changing oral surgery! “I had no idea how much pain he was in. Since his procedure, he is so much happier and energetic, not to mention his horrific breath has finally gone away,” says Fani Kolovos.
What is dental disease (also called periodontal disease)?
Periodontal disease is the result of bacterial infection of the gingiva (gums) which causes the destruction of the supporting bone around the teeth. Bacteria and tartar initially form above the gum line, resulting in bad breath and discolored teeth, but then progresses under the gum line resulting in periodontal disease, pain, and tooth loss.
Why is periodontal disease important to treat?
Once the tartar progresses below the gum line, the dental disease causes many problems including mouth pain, decreased appetite, loose teeth and infection. Not only can your pet develop problems inside the mouth, but the infection can spread through the bloodstream and cause potentially life-threatening damage to other organs in your pet’s body, including the heart, kidneys, and prostate.
Here are signs that you can watch for that may be indicative of dental disease:
- bad breath
- red or swollen gums
- stained teeth
- bleeding in the mouth
- rubbing or pawing at the sides of the face
- changes in appetite & chewing
How do we treat periodontal disease?
Believe it or not, periodontal disease is one of the most common problems seen by veterinarians, and it is also completely preventable!
Professional dental cleanings under light sedation for mild periodontal disease, or general anesthesia for more advanced periodontal disease, allow the veterinarian to perform a thorough oral examination and treat your pet’s oral disease. Digital dental x-rays allow doctors to evaluate all aspects of the teeth and supporting bone. Ultrasonic scalers remove the tartar on the tooth surface, as well as below the gum line, helping to prevent or manage periodontal disease.
Once your pet’s teeth have been professionally cleaned, you can continue care at home. Daily brushing is the gold standard and most effective way to decrease plaque and tartar buildup in between professional veterinary cleanings. Here’s a quick video with step-by-step instructions on how to brush your pet’s teeth: Dental Health: How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
There are a variety of toothbrushes and flavored toothpastes available that are made specifically for pets. You should never use human toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth because the fluoride in our toothpaste can cause an upset stomach. There are also many other products (including water additives, treats and toys) that we can give to our pets to help keep their teeth clean. Here’s a link of award-winning pet dental health products from the Veterinary Oral Health Council
At RegionalVet, we offer a low stress and affordable Dental Hygiene Program to help you prevent periodontal disease and maintain your pet’s oral health with minimal stress to you and your pet. Call today to learn more about our Dental Hygiene Program! 856.728.1400.