Tooth decay and gum disease are just as common in dogs as they are in humans, and they can be just as painful. As a result, brushing your dog's teeth is an important part of maintaining their overall health. Our Stockton veterinarians explain how to clean a dog's mouth and keep his teeth in good shape.
Is dog dental care really necessary?
Your dog's oral health is an important part of their overall well-being. By three, dogs frequently show signs of periodontal disease (gum disease). This early onset of dental disease can have serious consequences for their long-term health.
Studies in humans have found a link between periodontal disease and heart disease, and this appears to be true for our pets as well.
The link between heart disease and periodontal disease is caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function and causing problems with other organs. These health issues are, in addition, to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums and missing or damaged teeth.
At-home oral health care routines combined with dental treats can go a long way toward assisting your dog in keeping their teeth clean and controlling plaque and tartar buildup. Nonetheless, the best way to keep your dog's mouth clean and healthy is to take him to the vet for an annual dental exam and hygiene cleaning.
Neglecting annual dental cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
What are the risks of dog teeth cleaning?
Any procedure performed under anesthesia carries risks, which is why our veterinarians evaluate all pets to ensure they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia and perform additional diagnostics as needed to ensure that a dental exam while anesthetized is safe for your pet.
What will happen during my dog's dental cleaning appointment?
To help prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our Stockton vets at American Veterinary Hospital recommend bringing your dog in for a dental appointment at least once a year, or more frequently if they are suffering from more severe or recurring dental problems.
When you bring your dog to American Veterinary Hospital for a dental checkup our vets will perform a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of dental issues, such as:
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or
- Broken teeth
- Bad breath
If you notice signs of periodontal disease in your pet, such as decreased appetite (which can be an indication of tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule a dental appointment. If left untreated, oral health problems can become severe, causing your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.
After your pet has been safely sedated, your veterinarian will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, including charting (just like your dentist does during your examinations).
We will thoroughly clean and polish your dog's teeth, both above and below the gum line, while it is safely and comfortably sedated. We probe and x-ray the teeth, then use a fluoride treatment to help protect against future decay and damage before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.
If your dog is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.
How long does it take for a dog to recover from teeth cleaning?
Although every dog is different, you can expect your pet to begin recovering from the anesthetic within a few hours, though in some cases it may take up to 48 hours to fully recover. During this period, your dog may appear drowsy and have a decreased appetite.
How much does dog teeth cleaning cost?
The cost of dental cleaning varies greatly depending on a number of factors, including the size of your dog, the condition of your dog's teeth, where you live, and your specific veterinarian. To get an accurate estimate for having your dog's teeth cleaned, contact your vet.
However, with regular veterinary dental care, more invasive and costly procedures and surgeries are avoidable. Regular care allows your veterinarian to take preventative measures to help avoid advanced tooth decay and gum disease, which can cause pain, tooth loss, and jaw deterioration.
How to Clean Your Dog's Teeth
You may ask yourself, "should I brush my dog's teeth?" And the short answer is yes, you should.
You, as a pet owner, play a critical role in assisting your dog in combating dental disease. Here are a few simple ways you can help keep your dog's mouth healthy and clean his teeth:
- Use a finger brush from your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris. It's a simple as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists having its teeth cleaned try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pooch will find irresistible. These special dog-friendly kinds of toothpaste can turn a chore into a treat.
- Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
- Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.
Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.