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Clean Mouths for All!

Does your dog suffer from smelly breath?

If so, this could be an early sign of Gum Disease which is known to veterinarians as 'The Silent Killer' because it can lead to fatal conditions.

The good news is that Gum Disease is preventable and to celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month we’re offering a free sample of DH (prescription dental food) with every $99 dental & every dental procedure that is done from Valentine's day until March 15th!

February is National Dental Health Month! To celebrate we are sending all dental procedures home with a sample of our dental health prescription diet. The food helps prevent tartar & plaque build up by the way it breaks when chewed. Feel free to ask us more about this awesome food on your next appointment.

Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

What is Veterinary Dentistry? Who performs it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets' teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist (for advanced dental procedures, such as root canals or dental implants). Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The dental procedure begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth under general anesthesia by a veterinarian, Radiographs (x-rays) are taken to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gum line. Because most dental disease occurs below the gum line, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings. Some hospitals use a sealant & fluoride treatment as well to preserve the oral health of your pet.

Oral Health in Dogs & Cats

Your pet’s teeth should be checked once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

• Bad breath

• Broken or loose teeth

• Extra teeth or retained baby teeth

• Teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar

• Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth

• Reduced appetite or refusal to eat

• Pain in or around the mouth

• Bleeding from the mouth

• Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

What Causes Dental Problems in Pets?

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

• Broken teeth and roots

• Periodontal disease

• Abscesses or infected teeth

• Cysts or tumors in the mouth

• Malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth

• Broken (fractured) jaw

• Palate defects (such as cleft palate)

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gum line can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gum line is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and radiographs may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and will provide you with options to consider.

Why Does Dentistry Require Anesthesia?

When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.

Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day they go back to their normal selves the very next morning.

It is important to mention that many grooming facilities advertise teeth cleaning as part of their grooming packages, however it would be impossible for them to do an accurate & thorough cleaning on an awake canine. Most of the time their teeth cleaning advertisement is for an actual teeth brushing with a tooth brush and dog safe tooth paste and a mouth rinse. Which can be helpful on younger dogs, but when your dog already has tartar build up & plaque just a tooth brush will not clean their teeth sufficient enough.

Please help us in our mission to save dogs like yours from the terrible pain and suffering that periodontal disease can cause.

Call us now at (724) 627-5079 to schedule your furry best friend for a dental cleaning or a dental consultation with Dr. McMillen today! We look forward to speaking with you!

& don't forget to like us on Facebook!

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