When was the last time you looked in your pets’ mouth? Most people either don’t think to look in their mouths, or don’t really know what they are looking for once they are in there. Here are some general oral guidelines:
Before you go in, have a smell! Bad breath is the first indicator that your pet may have some dental disease.
Flip the lip, once you are in the mouth you want to look for:
- red, swollen gums
- tartar build up (yellow/brown accumulation on the surface of the tooth)
- broken or fractured teeth and loose teeth.
If you notice any of the above a trip to your veterinarian is the next step. An examination is key to evaluating dental disease. From there your veterinarian will discuss your options. Depending on the level of your pets’ dental disease your vet may recommend a dental cleaning.
Now that you know your pet needs a dental cleaning, what does that mean?
- Your pet will require a general anesthetic for the procedure (it is impossible to provide adequate dental care without it).
- The procedure is very similar to the cleaning humans receive. The Registered Technician cleans and polishes the teeth on the surface and below the gum line.
- Ideally dental x-rays of each tooth are taken. This is to ensure there is no disease under the gum line.
- The veterinarian will examine each tooth, checking for pockets or gaps between the tooth and the gums where bacteria will hide and cause disease.
- If there are any teeth that are diseased the veterinarian may freeze the area and remove the tooth.
- Once the procedure is complete your pet is woken up, recovered and able to go home later that evening.
Good oral care is imperative for your pet to live a long and healthy life. If left untreated, dental disease can damage your pet’s internal organs, be a source of chronic pain and affect their quality of life. If you are concerned that your pet is suffering from dental disease or if you would like to learn more about your pet’s dental health, please discuss it with your veterinarian. We offer complimentary oral examinations with our Registered Veterinary Technicians for anyone who is interested in learning about pet oral care.
Written by Ashley Kipling, Registered Veterinary Technician at Bloor Animal Hospital.
416-767-5817 2387 Bloor St West