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Often overlooked in a pet's wellness plan, dental hygiene - like vaccines, nutrition, and exercise - is essential to your dog or cat's health. When left unattended, poor dental hygiene can become detrimental to a pet's wellbeing, leading to oral discomfort, pain, illness, and serious health complications. Including veterinary dentistry in your pet's lifelong wellness plan will help ensure your cat or dog lives a happy, healthy life.
For your convenience, our veterinarians have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding veterinary dentistry. If you have more specific questions or are concerned about your pet's dental health, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our veterinarians by contacting us at (410) 665-6996.
Why is veterinary dentistry important for my cat or dog?
Pets benefit from good oral hygiene in the same ways people do. Good dental hygiene promotes healthy teeth, gums, mouths, and bodies. Dental care is an essential part of your pet's preventative wellness care.
What health complications can result from neglected teeth?
When plaque and tartar begin to build up on neglected teeth, pockets created in the gums become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. These bacteria can cause tooth abscesses, cavities, tooth loss, difficulty eating and drinking, and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, also referred to as gum disease, can eventually lead to blood infections and damage your pet's kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. An unfortunate result of these complications, poor oral hygiene can be deadly for pets.
How often should my pet have a dental exam?
Our veterinarians recommend pets have an annual dental exam which can be scheduled along with a regular yearly wellness check. During a dental examination, our veterinarians will inspect your pet's teeth, looking for signs of excessive tartar build up, cavities, damaged teeth, or gum disease. Our veterinarians will make treatment recommendations based on the state of your individual pet's oral health. Treatments might include home care, dental cleaning, tooth extraction, or antibiotics.
What does a pet dental cleaning entail?
Our veterinarians and assistants use the same tools to clean teeth as your dentist. A scaler is used to remove tartar deposits and excess plaque. We also use a polisher to polish teeth, helping to prevent future build up.
Will my pet experience any pain or discomfort during a dental exam and cleaning?
During all dental procedures, our staff uses a gentle touch, ensuring pets remain calm and comfortable. For pets who experience high anxiety during veterinary visits, the dental cleanings can be performed with pets under anesthesia to eliminate stress on pets and their owners during the appointment. For more invasive procedures which require surgery like a tooth extraction, our veterinarians will always recommend the use of local or general anesthesia to ensure pets feel no pain.
What can I do at home to improve my pet's dental health?
In addition to brushing your pet's teeth, you can practice good oral hygiene at home by providing pets dental-friendly toys, treats, and foods.
For more information or to make an appointment, contact Fullerton Animal Hospital, located in Baltimore, MD at (410) 665-6996.