Verandah Pet Hospital

14381 Palm Beach Blvd., SE
Fort Myers, FL 33905

(239)332-8387

verandahpethospital.com

 

Pets need dental care, too!


Progression of Gingivitis to Periodontal Disease -- DOGS

canine / dog mild dental disease 

Mild Gingivitis
Margin of attached gingiva (gum) is inflamed and swollen. Plaque covering teeth. Treatment can reverse condition.

 

Moderate Gingivitis
Entire attached gingiva (gum) is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor begins to be noticeable. Professional treatment and home dental care can prevent this from becoming irreversible.

  canine gum and tooth disease, severe tartar

Severe Gingivitis
Cherry red and bleeding attached gingiva (gum). Gingiva is becoming destroyed by infection and calculus (tartar). Sore mouth affects eating and behavior. Bad breath is present. Beginning of periodontal disease. May become irreversible.

  severe dental gum disease dog teeth

Periodontal Disease
Chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gum, tooth, and bone. Bacteria are spreading throughout the body via the bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver, and heart.

 Progression of Gingivitis to Periodontal Disease -- CATS

Mild Gingivitis
Margin of attached gingiva (gum) is inflamed and swollen. Plaque covering teeth. Treatment can reverse condition.

 

Moderate Gingivitis
Entire attached gingiva (gum) is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor begins to be noticeable. Professional treatment and home dental care can prevent this from becoming irreversible.

 

Severe Gingivitis
Cherry red and bleeding attached gingiva (gum). Gingiva is becoming destroyed by infection and calculus (tartar). Sore mouth affects eating and behavior. Bad breath is present. Beginning of periodontal disease. May become irreversible.

  feline / cat dental and gum disease tartar

Periodontal Disease
Chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gum, tooth, and bone. Bacteria are spreading throughout the body via the bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver, and heart.

 

 

photos courtesy of Jan Bellows, D.V.M., P.A., Dipl.A.V.D.C., Dipl.A.B.V.P.

 

 

 

Professional Dental Cleaning

The first step in promoting oral health is to schedule a thorough oral examination. At this time, it may be necessary to have your pet's teeth cleaned above and below the gumline. Like people, animals need this professional attention on a routine basis.

The cleaning will require your pet to be put under anesthesia. Recent advancements in anesthetic techniques and materials have greatly reduced the risks previously associated with this procedure.

Diet

Diet can be a major factor in the development of plaque and tartar. Soft or sticky foods may contribute to plaque build-up and subsequent periodontal disease. Dry food, biscuits, and specially-treated abrasive dental chews can be helpful in removing plaque above the gumline. However, only toothbrushing can remove plaque and food debris below the gumline, where disease-causing bacteria flourish.

Home Care

Since toothbrushing is considered the most effective method of removing plaque, we recommend an oral hygiene program which includes brushing your pet's teeth. It is important to use a toothbrush and toothpaste that fit your pet's needs. Use an ultra-soft toothbrush that will be kind to your pet's teeth. Pet toothpastes have flavors that appeal to pets & need not be rinsed.

DO NOT use human toothpaste or baking soda. These products often contain ingredients which your pet should not swallow!

When brushing is not practical you may use an antibacterial oral rinse or gel. These products are formulated specificially for pets, and with daily use they can help slow accumulation of dental plaque.

How to Brush Your Pet's Teeth

Brushing your pet's teeth is not difficult, but getting into the routine requires some patience on your part.

The first step is to select a convenient time when you and your pet are both relaxed. For the first few days, simply hold your pet as your normally do when petting her. Gently stroke the outside of your pet's cheeks with your finger for a minute or two. After each session, reward your pet with an appropriate treat and lots of praise.

For the next few days--after your pet has become comfortable with this activity--place a small amount of animal dentrifice on your finger and let your pet sample it. Dentrifice comes in several flavors that are appealing to pets.

Next comes the toothbrush or the fingerbrush. Place a small amount of the dentifrice on the brush, then gently raise your pet's upper lip and place the brush against an upper tooth. Use a slow circular motion to brush only that tooth and the adjoining gumline.

Each day gradually increase the number of teeth you brush. GO SLOWLY. Do not go beyond your pet's point of comfort. Build up to approximately 30 seconds of brushing per side.

And remember, after each session, reward your pet with a treat and lots of praise.


 

Every professional dental cleaning starts with a review of the patient's general health and any previous dental history. For a thorough, safe dental cleaning in veterinary patients, anesthesia is essential, as this permits a comprehensive assessment of the tissues, allows dental radiographs to be made when indicated, followed by the cleaning (scaling and polishing procedure) itself. So-called "Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning" is not recommended by The American Veterinary Dental College.

 

Dental Scaling Without Anesthesia

 

In the United States and Canada, only licensed veterinarians can practice veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine includes veterinary surgery, medicine and dentistry. Anyone providing dental services other than a licensed veterinarian, or a supervised and trained veterinary technician, is practicing veterinary medicine without a license and is subject to criminal charges.

 

This page addresses dental scaling procedures performed on pets without anesthesia, often by individuals untrained in veterinary dental techniques. Although the term Anesthesia-Free Dentistry has been used in this context, AVDC prefers to use the more accurate term Non-Professional Dental Scaling (NPDS) to describe this combination.

 

Owners of pets naturally are concerned when anesthesia is required for their pet. However, performing NPDS on an unanesthetized pet is inappropriate for the following reasons:
 

 

1. Dental tartar is firmly adhered to the surface of the teeth. Scaling to remove tartar is accomplished using ultrasonic and sonic power scalers, plus hand instruments that must have a sharp working edge to be used effectively. Even slight head movement by the patient could result in injury to the oral tissues of the patient, and the operator may be bitten when the patient reacts.
 

 

2. Professional dental scaling includes scaling the surfaces of the teeth both above and below the gingival margin (gum line), followed by dental polishing. The most critical part of a dental scaling procedure is scaling the tooth surfaces that are within the gingival pocket (the subgingival space between the gum and the root), where periodontal disease is active. Because the patient cooperates, dental scaling of human teeth performed by a professional trained in the procedures can be completed successfully without anesthesia. However, access to the subgingival area of every tooth is impossible in an unanesthetized canine or feline patient. Removal of dental tartar on the visible surfaces of the teeth has little effect on a pet's health, and provides a false sense of accomplishment. The effect is purely cosmetic.
 

 

3. Inhalation anesthesia using a cuffed endotracheal tube provides three important advantages... the cooperation of the patient with a procedure it does not understand, elimination of pain resulting from examination and treatment of affected dental tissues during the procedure, and protection of the airway and lungs from accidental aspiration.
 

 

4. A complete oral examination, which is an important part of a professional dental scaling procedure, is not possible in an unanesthetized patient. The surfaces of the teeth facing the tongue cannot be examined, and areas of disease and discomfort are likely to be missed.
 

 

Safe use of an anesthetic or sedative in a dog or cat requires evaluation of the general health and size of the patient to determine the appropriate drug and dose, and continual monitoring of the patient.
 

 

Veterinarians are trained in all of these procedures. Prescribing or administering anesthetic or sedative drugs by a non-veterinarian can be very dangerous, and is illegal. Although anesthesia will never be 100% risk-free, modern anesthetic and patient evaluation techniques used in veterinary hospitals minimize the risks, and millions of dental scaling procedures are safely performed each year in veterinary hospitals.
 

To minimize the need for professional dental scaling procedures and to maintain optimal oral health, AVDC recommends daily dental home care from an early age in dogs and cats. This should include brushing or use of other effective techniques to retard accumulation of dental plaque, such as dental diets and chew materials. This, combined with periodic examination of the patient by a veterinarian and with dental scaling under anesthesia when indicated, will optimize life-long oral health for dogs and cats. For information on effective oral hygiene products for dogs and cats, visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council web site (www.VOHC.org).

 

 

Please also visit our other Dental pages within this website -

Dr. Piper's Blog / Smelly Dog Breath? Think Dental Disease

The American Veterinary Dental Society