Dental disease is painful, unseemly, and dangerous to those afflicted. Because dogs and cats cannot take charge of their own dental health care, they are often susceptible to dental disease if their owners do not take responsibility for this crucial wellness factor. In fact, nearly 80% of dogs and cats are estimated to have dental disease by age three.
To prevent and treat dental disease in our patients, our McKinney veterinarians recommend a three-faceted approach.
Firstly, we recommend yearly dental assessments. During a dental assessment, which can be completed during a routine pet wellness exam, the doctor will inspect the teeth and gums of the pet for signs of tartar build-up, tooth decay, and inflammation. If we notice anything troublesome, we may decide that X-rays are appropriate to diagnose the extent of the oral damage fully. If a tooth is severely affected and causing the pet significant pain, a surgical extraction may be called for.
Secondly, after completing a dental assessment, we recommend that pets also receive a yearly dental cleaning. Our cleanings are conducted with an ultrasonic scaler to remove the plaque and tartar from the enamel. Because the loud noise often scares pets, and we must be able to reach the area below the gum line for a full cleaning, the pet will be anesthetized for the procedure. Just like humans, animals need regular dental cleanings to keep their chompers healthy and strong.
Thirdly, between dental cleanings, we recommend a regular at-home cleaning protocol. Some pet owners are able to brush their pet’s teeth, which is a wonderful practice, but not all pets will sit still for such an endeavor. For this reason, there exists a wide variety of chews, toys, and rinses designed to help clean the teeth. Please discuss recommendations for your pet with your veterinarian.