Dental Cleaning in Sunnyvale
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for Dogs and Cats
Dental disease is one of the most common, if not the most common disease, found in our pets. This comes as a surprise to most people. It is an insidious disease, working constantly and silently, and in small increments, to steal away your pet’s health and long life. It can accelerate damage to the lungs, liver, heart, and kidneys. It can cause bad breath, excessive drooling, decreased appetite, dull and sharp oral pain, and make a pet grumpy. Just as we should go to our dentist on a regular basis for the best care, so should your pets.
Dental disease generally starts out as low-grade gingivitis, with redness and some swelling of the gum margins. There may or may not be VISIBLE calculi or tartar, the mineral deposits that form when plaque sits on the teeth long enough. Surprisingly, it only takes 3-5 days for plaque to start forming calculi. It only takes hours for plaque to form from the bad bacteria in the mouth. Thus, gingivitis is the result of an actual BACTERIAL INFECTION in the mouth under the gum line. It is because of this infection that all the damage to the gums, teeth, and bodily organs occurs, and why it should be treated. You can also see the need to have ONGOING CARE by us and by you. Home care is very important in fighting this ongoing battle.
Home care starts when the pets are young. This is the best time to introduce them to the brushing of the teeth. Start with your finger. You want to gently insert your finger into their mouth between the cheek and teeth and move it back and forth. You can use just water or flavor your finger with food, broth, or something else tasty. Cats seem to like tuna juice. In kittens, a Q-tip can work better than your finger. The main thing is to make it an enjoyable experience for them and you or it won’t get done. Later you can work up to a washcloth or gauze squares, and then advance to toothbrushes.
There are some pastes, gels, treats, chews, and even special foods which can, in some cases, the ONLY thing your pet may tolerate instead of brushing. But brushing is still the best.
Do not give your pet hard objects to chew on because they can actually break the teeth! Hooves, Nylabones, “knucklebones,” bones in general, and hard plastic toys fall under this category of hard objects.
Veterinary care involves identifying potential problems, anesthetizing the animal safely, evaluating the mouth, and then doing the procedures to deal with the problems found during the evaluation. The problem may just be early gingivitis. It may also be severe periodontal disease, where the tooth may be loose due to bone loss around the tooth, along with severe gingivitis.
For a thorough evaluation, anesthesia is necessary. Anesthesia is very safe these days because of improved anesthetic techniques, better support and monitoring during anesthesia, and pre-anesthetic blood testing.
Once anesthetized, the pet’s teeth and gums are checked for abnormally deep pockets alongside the roots, receding of the gum line, swelling of the gums, looseness of any teeth, or signs of tooth disease such as cavities, fractures, and exposed pulp. The teeth are then cleaned of any plaque
and tartar using the latest techniques and equipment possible. In many cases, antibiotics will be dispensed.
We hope this helps you understand dental disease a little better. Our hope is that you can make an informed choice about the health care of your pet. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.
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