Importance of dental health for our veterinary patients

By January 15, 2016Blog, veterinary oral healthcare

Clients often wonder why our Tampa veterinarians put so much emphasis on the dental health of our patients. They remember pets they had in their childhoods who never were treated for dental disease and wonder if it is indeed necessary. So, we would like to explain the reasons dental health care is so important.

Dental prophylaxis and treatment of dental disease are about much more than aesthetics. If it were only a matter of missing teeth or bad breath, we wouldn’t concern ourselves. The fact is, untreated periodontal disease in our pets has all the same repercussions as it does for humans.

The bacterial infections that are the cause of dental disease have effects on other internal organs. The bacteria enters the bloodstream and is filtered by the kidneys, which can be damaged by chronic infection. Cats, in particular, are at risk of kidney disease but dogs are also affected.  The heart can also suffer when bacteria is running through it from periodontal disease.  Our veterinarians in Tampa emphasize early treatment of dental disease before major infection sets in.

There is also the matter of the discomfort that a pet endures from periodontal disease. Anyone who has ever had an abscessed tooth knows how painful that condition is. Most pet owners don’t notice the subtle signs their pets show when they suffer from oral pain. Many times, however, we do hear from owners telling us how much more energetic their pet is after treatment of oral disease.

Our dental treatments consist of a thorough oral examination once the pet is sedated. The teeth are scaled ultrasonically using the same equipment that your dentist uses for your teeth. In the event of periodontal disease, oral surgery is performed to extract any abscessed or loose teeth. Any roots with gingival pockets are planed and the pockets are flushed in the same manner that pockets are treated by human dentists. The teeth are then polished and your pet goes home with a dental report card with before and after pictures.

We all want what is best for our pets. Periodic dental cleaning, as well as home care, are essential ways that we can enhance the health and longevity of our furry family members.

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