Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.

Common signs of dental disease include:

  • Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums (Gingivitis)
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth only
  • Refusing to eat
  • Dropping food
  • Pawing at the face
  • Loose teeth
  • Depression

          Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year (at your pet’s wellness and vaccine visits).

Promotions & Offers for February 2019

10% off the price of Dental cleanings:

  • This offer is only applicable to dental cleanings performed from February 1st to February 28th 2019. This offer is only applicable to the cost of the dental cleaning itself. Further diagnostics (blood work, radiographs, etc.) or any additional costs (vaccines, antibiotics, dental extractions, pain medications), are not subject to this discount.

Complimentary Dental Exam & Estimate:

  • This offer is currently only available during business hours from February 1st-28th 2019 Monday to Fridays. You DO NOT need to be a client of the Mildmay Veterinary Clinic to receive this offer. You are not required to book the dental cleaning at the end of the appointment. This complimentary exam is focused on your pets’ oral health. A routine examination of their heart and lungs will be performed to assure they are eligible for anesthesia. Any further health concerns you may have regarding your pet will require an office call charge and may potentially need to be rescheduled if time is not permitted. Any additional services you wish to have done (i.e. nail trims, blood work, vaccines, etc) will be at regular cost. If you already have your pet booked in for an exam with us, a dental examination is always included in our office fee and and estimate can be made at your request! YOU MUST HAVE PROOF OF A VALID RABIES VACCINATION PRIOR TO BOOKING YOUR APPOINTMENT.

What is Dental Disease?

          Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to the deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.

          Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream through the gums and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly enough they can result in severe illness and death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if the infection in the mouth has spread.

Important Terms

  • Crown:  the part of the tooth visible above the gum line.
  • Enamel:  the covering over the crown of the tooth and the hardest substance in the body      
  • Extraction: removal of a tooth.
  • Gingiva: the gums.
  • Gingivitis: inflammation of the gingiva.
  • Malocclusion: improper alignment of the teeth.
  • Neck: the part of the tooth between crown and root located at the gum line.
  • Occlusion: alignment of the teeth (the way the teeth fit together).
  • Pulp: the fleshy part in the center of a tooth made up of soft tissue, cells, blood vessels and nerve endings.
  • Root:  the part of the tooth underneath the gum line.
  • Root Apex:  the narrowed or pointed end of the root of a tooth.

Plaque vs. Tartar

          Plaque is the sticky, white film of dental disease-causing bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth and along the gum line. On our own teeth, it is that ‘fuzzy’ and unclean film that grows on our enamel, thankfully removed by a good brushing. As plaque forms and is not removed by proper brushing, it can harden into tartar within 48 hours, which is calcified (or hardened) into tatar that attaches to the enamel on the teeth, as well as below the gum line. Tartar can only be removed by your veterinarian with special equipment during a dental cleaning under anesthesia.

Preventing Dental Disease

          There are a vast number of preventatives that can be used to help keep your pet’s mouth from needing a costly dental cleaning and having teeth extracted. Ideally, we stop/slow down the progression of the dental disease from getting past stage 1, shown in the diagram below. Some of the ways we do that are by brushing our pet’s teeth at least once a day (to prevent tartar from forming), switching them to a dental diet, adding supplements to their drinking water, or giving them treats and chews designed to mechanically remove plaque from their teeth.

Preventative Methods

  • Brushing – The best way by far for an owner to prevent plaque build up is by brushing their pet’s teeth. This is cost effective and only takes 5 minutes out of the day to get done. Using a finger toothbrush, a babies toothbrush, or any toothbrush with soft and gentle bristles (depending on the size of your pet), along with C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste from your local veterinarian (human toothpaste is not safe to swallow) we can scrape off the plaque before it has the opportunity to harden into pesky tartar.

**C.E.T Enzymatic Toothpaste – Formulated specially for dogs and cats to inhibit the formation of plaque, they contain no foaming agents and are safe to be swallowed. Beef, poultry, seafood, malt, and vanilla-mint flavors are well accepted by pets making brushing easier.

 

  • Diet – There are two veterinary diets that are available for our clients to purchase with no prescription needed! These diets are designed for adult animals so once they are of 6 months of age and fixed is a great time to switch them off of their puppy or kitten food and onto this new diet. Some of the benefits of these diets include:
    • Kibble Properties – Larger kibbles comprised of woven fibre particles, are harder and larger making your pet chew their food better. This ensures that the additional chewing required helps the kibble scrape off plaque.
    • Added Antioxidants – Defend cells from free radical oxidation, promoting a healthy immune system.
    • Reduced Protein – Limits a component of plaque.
    • Reduced Calcium – Limits the mineralization of plaque to tartar.

 

 

  • Water Additives- Healthy Mouth is the only veterinary approved water additive for your pets’ oral health. It’s patented formula contains 100% human grade ingredients. It’s free of all synthetic, artificial ingredients, alcohol and contains NO calories, fat, sugar or sodium. It’s clinically proven to reduce plaque by a remarkable 71% and 76% in dogs in two independent clinical trials. The safe, effective, highly palatable concentrate formula (backed by a 100% refund policy) is added to your pet’s daily drinking water, making dental home care a win-win for your pet and you! It works by reducing plaque, oral bacteria that causes inflammation leading to dental disease and inhibiting the bacteria and germs that are the source of halitosis.

 

 

 

  • Treats & Chews- These tasty treats come in a variety of shapes and sizes from many different companies, all designed to aid in mechanically scraping off plaque.
    • C.E.T. HEXtra Oral Hygiene Chews for Dogs contain beef hide for a natural abrasive cleansing action that helps keep teeth clean and breath fresh, even on days when brushing isn’t possible.  The combination of chlorhexidine with the mechanical action of the chew helps reduce plaque and tartar when used daily.  Available in Petite, Medium, Large and Extra Large sizes.

 

  • C.E.T. Veggidents are vegetable-based; giving pet owners another choice in caring for their pet’s teeth. Dogs love the unique, easy-to-hold “Z” shape, the taste, and the tough, chewy consistency.They clean teeth and freshen breath when chewed by dogs once a day and are available in regular, small, and extra small sizes.

  • C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Chews for Cats are clinically proven to help loosen tartar during chewing and provide control of plaque. Enhanced Dual-Enzyme System provides effective antiseptic action making it an effective step towards oral hygiene.

  • Greenie’s Feline Dental Treats offer complete nutrition and helps your cat maintain good dental care. They have a unique shape and crunchy texture that’s proven to reduce plaque.They come in a wide variety of flavors to suit every cat’s pallet.

 

Caution! Beware of Non-Anesthetic Dentistry

          Some groomers, pet stores, and even non accredited veterinary hospitals offer “non anesthetic pet dentals” or “twilight dentals”, but buyer beware: This procedure is stressful for pets, does not treat any issues beneath the gum line, and can be potentially dangerous for both the pet and the one performing the procedure.

          These types of dental cleanings are not a safe way to clean teeth. It can often lead to secondary issues when the dog is awake and moving such as slicing gums and breaking teeth. It creates huge divots in the enamel, and doesn’t protect the animals airways.

          AAHA (the American Animal Hospital Association) issued a mandatory dental standard in 2013 that all dental procedures in AAHA-accredited practices must be performed under anesthesia with patients intubated, and that cleaning a companion animal’s teeth without general anesthesia is considered unacceptable and below the standard of care.

 

Ask Your Vet!

          If you think your pet is suffering from dental disease give us a call or bring it up at your pets’ annual wellness visit with their veterinarian. We can schedule you in and give you a dental estimate to take home and consider. We can also supply you with all the preventative tools above to aid in slowing down the dental disease process in your pets’ mouths.

2 Comments

  • Donna says:

    I thought brushing my dogs teeth was going to be a chore but the slow steps to actually getting a tooth brush in my dogs mouth worked perfect. He honestly thinks it’s a treat now!

  • Celestia Stratheimer says:

    It sure was nice that I came across this article because I learned how important it was to brush the teeth of my pet every day as that will help prevent bacteria in the mouth from spreading inside my pet’s body. Hopefully, it is not too late for me to begin caring for his health. I have been caring for him myself, but I didn’t realize that I was missing something. I will schedule him an appointment with the vet to see if there’s something wrong and something I need to do. Thank you.

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