Pets need their teeth cleaned regularly to combat infection-causing oral bacteria. Just like humans! The difference is that our pets depend on us to help make that happen. That's why dental health should be a year round staple of your pet's wellness care.
Bad breath in pets is oftentimes overlooked, but it's the first sign of an unhealthy mouth. ‘Dog breath’ is caused by oral bacteria, which initially infects just the teeth and gums. Over time, oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and lead to severe health consequences like organ damage.
A visual dental exam is part of every wellness exam performed at Harbor Animal Hospital. Our doctors are highly skilled at spotting signs of dental disease in your pet. Bad breath is hard to miss, but we'll look for other indicators, too, such as:
More than half of the teeth are below the gum line, so it's not surprising that most dental disease is found below the gum line, too. To make up for what cannot be seen during a visual exam, we've invested in digital dental x-ray technology.
Digital dental x-rays allow us to catch underlying issues that may be causing your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort, like infected teeth, fractured teeth, and dead teeth. More so, this shows if your pet is at risk for oral bacteria entering the bloodstream and infecting his or her immune system and internal organs.
Professional dental cleanings are generally recommended once a year. Your pet's oral cavity will be deep cleaned, above and below the gum line. The first step is to clean below the gum line, which is where oral bacteria begins and lives in the gum tissue. Next, scaling and polishing is performed to completely remove plaque and tartar above the gum line.
Vitals and pain levels will be rigorously monitored from start to finish with ECG technology that records heart rhythms. After your pet's dental procedure, we'll take another set of digital dental x-rays to ensure procedural success.
Anesthesia is required for the safety and comfort of your pet during every dental cleaning. To ensure the safety of anesthesia, we always perform a comprehensive blood panel beforehand, which can catch underlying conditions or irregularities that might interfere with its safety or efficacy.
Fractured, abscessed, and rotting teeth are tremendously painful and cause teeth to become non-functional, with no chance of ever being functional again. In severe cases like this, simply removing plaque and tartar build-up is not enough to completely relieve your pet of dental pain or eliminate the oral bacteria that puts their overall health at risk. Extracting teeth is the only effective way when damage is this advanced.
Your pet will return home the same day with a healthy oral cavity and pearly white teeth! Keeping up with at-home care between visits reduces the number of professional dental cleanings your pet will need during his or her life. We'll show you how to brush your pet's teeth at home and, if you have a fussy pet, we'll recommend alternatives like dental diets, treats, and chews.