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Dental Care

Have you noticed your pet’s breath is less than fresh lately? Dental problems are very common in dogs and cats, but can be prevented by routine dental care. Brushing your pet’s teeth at home and using veterinarian-approved, quality dental products can greatly reduce their risk for periodontal disease. Removing plaque from the tooth’s surface prevents it from hardening into tartar, which is what leads to infection and damage to teeth, the surrounding gums, and the jawbone. However, brushing cannot remove already hardened tartar, but can help slow future buildup.

At your pet’s annual or semi-annual exam, the veterinarian will inspect their mouth and teeth. He will be looking for a number of problems, including severe tartar buildup, broken or loose teeth, retained baby teeth, bleeding from the gums, swollen areas, abscessed teeth, tumors/growths, palate defects, or jaw fracture. If there is any obvious evidence of a dental problem, a dental cleaning will be recommended. Some of the problems mentioned may not be noticed right away at home. However, if you do notice a sudden decrease in appetite, excessive drooling, a painful mouth, swollen face, or food falling out of your pet’s mouth, this could be an indicator that something is wrong with their teeth.

To effectively remove hardened tartar, your pet’s teeth must be scaled and polished by their veterinarian while under sedation. If any teeth are damaged, they may require extraction. Pets can eat fine even with missing teeth, and their mouth will be much healthier after infected teeth are removed. While some parents worry about their pet going under anesthesia, many precautions are taken to reduce risks – including pre-anesthetic blood work to look for any underlying health issues, constant monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels during the dental procedure, and post-anesthesia observation. Since dental problems can lead to pain and/or damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys, the benefit of a healthy mouth certainly outweighs this risk.

During the month of October, Dr. Panuska will offer a 10% off dental special, as well as a complimentary dental care kit to take home. This makes October the perfect time to address your pet’s dental health.

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