Dentistry plays a major role in the lifelong health of pets. By age 3, most animals suffer from some degree of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease begins as bacteria and food particles accumulate on the teeth and harden into tartar. As this progresses further, pockets form between teeth and gums which hold more bacteria and food particles. Every time an animal takes a bite of food, bacteria are released from these pockets into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream the bacteria are carried to the organs and other parts of the body. Over time, this continual bombardment of bacteria can make diseases of the heart, liver and kidneys much more likely. This makes lifelong home and professional dental care extremely important.
Home Dental Care
Home dental care is the best way to prevent dental disease. C.E.T. home dental products are a great choice for home prevention and they give many ways to get the job done. The best prevention is daily brushing with a dental prophylaxis kit which includes a toothbrush and tube of animal-specific toothpaste (poultry and vanilla mint flavors are popular for dogs, seafood for cats). Another good product is the C.E.T. oral hygiene rinse which can be applied between the teeth and gums after every meal. Not all pets will stand for such invasions into the mouth. One option for those who don't is enzymatic rawhide chews for dogs, or dental chews for cats. Finally, the newest product from C.E.T. is Aquadent, a water additive which aids in plaque prevention also. Another product that is also available is an Oravet Home Care Kit. After a professional cleaning is done, Oravet, a gel barrier sealant, can be applied to the teeth and gum line. This is done once weekly following a dental cleaning.
Professional Dental Care
Professional dental cleaning is the best way to remove any tartar that has built up on the teeth. While under anesthesia, a professional cleaning begins with accessing the amount of tartar, pocket formations and the amount of inflammation present. At this time, we also evaluate the integrity of the teeth (visually and by taking x-rays) to see if any extractions are necessary. Simple extractions are usually performed before the cleaning process begins. If no extractions are needed, we proceed directly on to the cleaning process. Ultrasonic scaling of the teeth is performed to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. After all the tartar has been removed, the teeth are then polished and a chlorhexidine rinse is applied. Professional dental cleanings are recommended once yearly for most patients as this greatly reduces their risk for developing periodontal disease.