Animals need healthy teeth and gums, just like people. At Friendly Animal Clinic, our veterinarians provide quality dental care and surgery for cats and dogs in the Greensboro and Guilford College area.
Somewhat surprising for many pet owners is the fact that one of the most common ailments in pets is periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Their teeth, like those of humans, are susceptible to becoming broken as well as developing cavities and orthodontic problems.
Caring for your pet's oral health is an essential part of their overall health, and that's why at Friendly Animal Clinic we offer an extensive range of dental care services for your pet.
Dental care includes professional cleaning and polishing, dental x-rays, and dental surgeries. Our vets will also instruct you on the best ways to care for your pet's dental health at home.
Does my pet really need dental care?
As veterinarians, we do everything possible to provide the care your pet needs. Dental health is important to the general wellbeing of cats and dogs as oral health problems can be connected to other health issues in their body, affecting multiple internal systems. Regular dental care can help to prevent periodontal and other diseases and keep your pet healthy and happy.
How often should my pet have a dental exam?
At least once a year, your pet should have a dental examination. Some cats and dogs are predisposed to dental problems and would benefit from more frequent visits.
- Discolored teeth
- Bad breath
- Tartar buildup
- Teeth that are loose or broken
- Swelling, pain, or bleeding in the mouth region
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Any abnormalities, such as unusual chewing or drooling
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
We will perform a thorough physical exam prior to administering anesthesia to your pet.
Blood and urine samples will be analyzed to be certain that your pet can safely undergo anesthesia. If required, we may also use additional diagnostic tools, such as an ECG or chest radiograph.
We will fully examine and chart every tooth once your pet is safely under anesthesia.
We will proceed to cleaning and polishing the crowns of your pet's teeth and under their gum line.
Every tooth will be radiographed and a fluoride treatment will be applied.
As a final step in the process, we will place a dental sealant to reduce plaque from developing. If your pet has been diagnosed with advanced periodontal disease, your vet will develop and discuss a comprehensive treatment plan with you.
We will schedule a complimentary follow-up examination, two weeks following the procedure.
At this appointment, we will discuss ways in which to prevent oral health issues from recurring. This typically includes instruction on teeth brushing at home, as well as other supplementary products available to help improve your pet's dental health.
FAQs About Dentistry
- What will a dental appointment be like for my pet?
At Friendly Animal Clinic, we want your pet to be comfortable during their visit.
Bringing your pet for a dental visit will be similar to what you'd find at your own dental office.
Our dental suite has specialized equipment such as high-speed dental units and anesthesia monitoring and delivery equipment.
- Is there a difference between periodontitis and gingivitis?
Gingivitis and periodontitis are different stages of gum disease.
Gum (periodontal) disease affects the tissues that support teeth. If left untreated, it can progress to tooth loss and is a leading cause of oral health issues.
The disease begins when plaque develops on the surface of your pet's teeth. Plaque is difficult to detect as it is colorless. The minerals in their saliva will naturally attach to the plaque, forming tartar.
Bacteria eventually spread under the gums, causing an inflammation known as gingivitis.
After forming under the gums, bacteria begin to damage and destroy the tissues surrounding the teeth, leading to tooth loss. This stage is known as periodontitis.
Caring for your pet's dental health is vital to their overall health as that bacteria can travel through their bloodstream from their mouth to their heart, kidneys, and liver, where it can lead to system failures and possibly fatality.
- Is gum disease common for cats and dogs?
It is estimated that 85 percent of all pets have some form of periodontal disease before three years of age. Gum disease is exceptionally common, making regular maintenance and check-ups a must.
- How can I keep my pet's teeth clean?
You can keep your pet's teeth clean in several ways.
Start with brushing your pet's teeth daily to remove any debris. You can obtain a finger brush from your vet or you could use a child's toothbrush.
A plaque prevention product may be prescribed by your vet that can be applied to your pet's teeth and gums. It will adhere to the surface of their teeth as a barrier that will prevent plaque buildup.
There are also certain treats and pet foods available that are targeted at plaque and tartar prevention. The abrasive action of chewing larger kibble can help to clean the surface of the teeth. They may also have ingredients that work to prevent tartar mineralization.
- Are there any risks with anesthesia?
While there is always some risk with anesthesia, it is relatively uncommon to experience any side effects or issues.
Although your pet may seem a little dazed for awhile, most pets are able to go home the same day.
Phenomenal - the best word I can use to describe the doctors and staff at FAC. We have used them for many, many years and they have always treated our fur babies so great. They went above and beyond when we boarded our dog and he would not eat and they were so supportive when we lost two of our babies back to back. Great team!!
Prevention & Maintenance
Your pet should visit the dentist for an oral health checkup annually. Some cats and dogs are more prone to dental problems, and may need to visit more often.
The vet will begin the dental checkup process with a complete examination of your pet’s mouth. Most dental disease in animals occurs below the gumline. To fully examine your pet's oral health, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation will be performed under anesthesia.
The dental cleaning will consist of the removal of dental plaque and tartar, and polishing.
If necessary, the vet will recommend tools and techniques that you can use at home to keep your pet's teeth clean, such as a teeth brushing or a special diet.
Anesthesia & Your Pet's Health
When you visit your dentist, you are aware that all the procedures and services are intended to keep your mouth clean and healthy, therefore you are able to remain still and allow your dentist to work.
Animals, on the other hand, cannot understand any of this. They are nervous and afraid, which often results in moving too much, attempting to escape, and sometimes even biting.
The use of anesthesia allows us to effectively perform the dental procedures your pet needs with minimized stress and pain.
If your pet needs radiographs (x-rays), anesthesia makes it possible to get clear, still images. Contact Us To Learn More