Look Out! How to Recognize and Address the Signs of Pet Dental Disease
Like us, pets benefit incredibly from clean teeth and gums, but unfortunately, many pets don’t get attention to this area before certain problems have already taken root. Some, sadly, don’t ever have their teeth cleaned. The issue isn’t aesthetic, although a fresh-smelling slobber-kiss is certainly preferable to the alternative. Instead, through the prevention of pet dental disease, owners invest in their pet’s overall health and longevity. As the Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital can attest to, this is no small feat.
The Truth About Inflammation
The teeth are supported by gums, bone, and tissue. When these structures become progressively inflamed, tooth loss is the typical result. But the process starts long before when bacteria forms plaque on the teeth and gum line. To make matters even worse, saliva is comprised of certain minerals that, when combined with plaque, form the worst offender: tarter.
Tarter is hard and calciferous. Oral bacteria gets beneath tartar buildup, inflames the gums (a condition called gingivitis) and eventually destroys the tissue that supports the teeth. Pet dental disease doesn’t end with tooth loss, though. The same bacteria responsible for tooth decay can actually seep into the bloodstream and infect the body’s major organs.
A Shorter Life
Because pet dental disease decreases longevity and quality of life, the prevention and detection of the symptoms are paramount to overall health.
The following signs indicate that your pet may need help with any of the stages of periodontal disease:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Inflamed, visibly recessed, or bloody-looking gums
- Reluctance to eat, or preference for chewing on just one side
- Appetite loss
- Pawing at the mouth
- Loose teeth or missing ones
- Swelling of the gums, cheeks, or face
- Nasal discharge
Assessing Pet Dental Disease
Periodontal disease affects the tissue and bone structure beneath the gum line. As a result, the only way to truly understand the extent of a pet’s is to examine a pet while they’re under general anesthesia. We also highly recommend digital radiographs to measure bone loss and identify other likely problems, such as abscesses.
Professional cleanings while your pet under general anesthesia help enormously toward the removal of plaque and tartar, but if necessary, extraction, root canals, and root planing are performed.
Schedule and Save
Daily brushing at home can guard against excessive plaque and tartar accumulation. There are also top-notch dental rinses, diets, and treats for optimal oral health (contact us for recommendations). Unfortunately, nothing can replace routine prophylactic dental care.
To help your pet achieve long-lasting dental health, we encourage yearly exams and cleanings. To that end, we’re offering a savings of 20% off your pet’s dental cleaning this September. Please give us a call at 630-665-1500 to schedule your pet’s appointment.
Remember, the Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are always here for you!
We accept walk-ins during our Doctor’s Hours to meet your busy lifestyle. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, we offer those too!
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