Gum disease and dental tartar that can cause tooth damage or loss
Dental disease can cause a variety of symptoms in pets. Signs may include:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Tooth discoloration or tartar buildup
- Red or swollen gums
- Difficulty eating or chewing
- Pawing at the mouth or face, indicating discomfort or pain
- Excessive drooling
- Missing or loose teeth
- Reluctance to play with toys or reluctance to have the head or mouth touched
- Changes in behavior, such as irritability, avoiding certain types of food, or decreased appetite
Dental disease not only affects your pet's teeth but can also lead to related health conditions such as gum infections, tooth root abscesses, or even systemic infections if bacteria enter the bloodstream.
If you notice any of these signs or if you have concerns about your pet's health, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian. Early detection and intervention can improve the chances of successful management and prevent complications like the need to remove teeth.
When you visit your veterinarian for concerns related to dental disease, the following may occur:
- Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet, checking for any abnormalities in the mouth, teeth, and gums. Sedation may be needed in some pets and will be necessary to adequately assess the extent of dental disease.
- Diagnostic testing: Diagnostic testing such as dental X-rays may be recommended to evaluate the extent of dental disease, identify any underlying issues, and determine the best course of treatment.
- Treatment options: Treatment options for dental disease can vary depending on the severity. It may involve professional dental cleaning under anesthesia, tooth removal to alleviate pain or address severely affected teeth, or treatment of specific dental conditions such as periodontal disease or tooth fractures.
- Advanced diagnostic or treatment options:In some cases, referral to a veterinary dental specialist (veterinary dentist) may be considered for more advanced diagnostics and treatments (such as root canal therapy).
- Follow-up care: Your veterinarian will discuss a follow-up plan, which may involve regular monitoring, additional dental cleanings, or adjustments to the treatment regimen.
Your veterinary healthcare team will partner with you to decide which treatment option is best for your pet's and your family’s specific condition and situation.
Here are some things you can do at home to prevent dental disease:
- Regular tooth brushing: Brush your pet's teeth regularly using a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste recommended by your veterinarian. Establish a routine and gradually introduce tooth brushing to make it more comfortable for your pet.
- Dental chews or toys: Provide dental chews or toys that are designed to help clean your pet's teeth and gums.
- Dental diets and treats: Consider feeding your pet specially formulated dental diets, if suitable for your pet, which can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
- Water additives: Some water additives may help promote oral hygiene in pets.
- Regular veterinary check-ups: An oral exam is part of your pet’s routine check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your pet's oral health and address any concerns promptly.
- Avoid feeding table scraps: Human food, especially sugary or fatty foods, can contribute to dental disease in pets. Stick to a balanced and appropriate pet diet.
Consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance on preventing dental disease in your pet. They can provide tailored recommendations based on your pet's specific needs and medical history.
Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If you suspect your pet has dental disease or any other health concerns, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.