Some pet owners don't realize the importance of pet dental care in keeping their pet healthy. Nearly 85% of pets over age four suffer from periodontal disease. Periodontal disease damages teeth and the supporting structures that keep your pet's teeth in place and healthy. At Northwest Veterinary Hospital, we value education of our clients very highly. This page is dedicated to helping clients understand pet dental health and the reasons we recommend regular dental care.
First lets educate you on what periodontal disease is. When your pet eats food, the food particles along with bacteria and saliva create a film on the teeth called plaque. Daily brushing can remove this plaque before it progresses to something worse. Plaque that builds up hardens into tartar over time. Tartar is an accumulation of large amounts of bacteria, it is very hard and cannot be removed by brushing alone. The bacteria causes gum tissue to become red and inflamed, this is called gingivitis. At this point the owner can see a red line along the gums where they are closest to the teeth, and tan to dark brown tartar accumulation on the teeth themselves. Inflamed gum tissue will then allow bacteria to grow upwards, under the gum line and attack the supporting structures that are responsible for keeping the tooth in the socket and keeping the bacteria away from the tooth roots. Bacteria under the gums form periodontal pockets, these pockets are responsible for the smell and bad breath that owners will recognize. Periodontal disease can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or become abscessed over time. It is extremely painful to your pet. Despite the pain pets feel, they adapt and learn ways to eat their food to their best ability by chewing only on one side or worse yet, swallowing whole kibble. Because of this, many pet owners are unaware of their pet's dental problems and periodontal disease.
The bacteria that accumulate on your pet's teeth can have many detrimental affects on the general health of your pet. The bacteria flood the body and can pass into the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, they will do damage to your pet's heart, kidneys, liver and nervous system. At Northwest Veterinary Hospital, we want to see your pet live as long as possible so dental exams are always FREE....just call for an appointment with Dr. Pam or one of our technicians. At the appointment we will perform a brief exam of the teeth and give you a written estimate for a dental cleaning if needed. Keep in mind that no dental exam is complete until your pet is under anesthesia, and each tooth's integrity can be inspected more closely. (515) 276-4549
Below are before and after photographs of a recent feline dental:
And these are before and after photos from a recent dog dental:
All of our patients receiving dental care and cleaning will go home with a before and after photo, a sample of toothpaste and a toothbrush. We also provide free lessons on brushing your pet's teeth. Why do we do all this?? Because we care about your pet's health.