Help Prevent Problems by Brushing Your Pet’s Pearly Whites
Twice daily teeth brushing has become a part of the daily routine for many people, but what you may not realize is that your pet needs regular dental attention too.
"Daily teeth brushing is still the gold standard of dental home care that owners can easily provide for their pets," Dr. Dale Kressin, WVMA member and owner of Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery Specialists, LLC.
While traditional animal dentistry consisted mainly of caring for the teeth of horses, donkeys or mules, modern day dental care has evolved to include companion animals.
Some veterinarians take their dental knowledge a step further by becoming board certified by the American Veterinary Dental College.
"A board certified specialists is trained to perform procedures such as oral surgery, periodontal surgery, root canal therapy, preventive dentistry, orthodontics and prosthodontics," says Dr. Kressin.
Often times, routine dental procedures can be performed by your regular veterinarian, but your pet may be referred to a specialist depending on their condition. Scheduling annual wellness exams for your pet will help with early detection of any health issues.
"Dentistry is a key component to your pet's general health," says Dr. Kressin. "It is critically important for animal owners to understand that diagnosis is needed prior to providing dentistry and oral surgery treatments."
Prior to pets receiving dental or oral surgery procedures, diagnosis is established by visual examination, intraoral dental x-rays, dental and periodontal probing. All procedures are essential and will allow the veterinarian to decide what additional diagnostic procedures or treatments are needed.
If your dog or cat is showing any of the following symptoms, see your veterinarian immediately:
- Red, swollen gums and discolored teeth
- Bad breath that is repulsive
- Reluctance to eat hard food
"Once a diagnosis is established, the best treatments for your pet can be provided," he says.
Many pet owners are hesitant to have dental procedures for the pet because anesthesia is needed, but Dr. Kressin believes that patient specific anesthesia protocols are safe and necessary for oral disease diagnosis and optimal treatment.
"Many dental problems are painful and we always want to eliminate pain," says Dr. Kressin.
If you have questions on your pet's dental health, contact your local veterinarian. To find a veterinary clinic near you, visit wvma.org.Last modified on