SMILE! It’s still “Dental Month” at Stoney Creek Veterinary Hospital!
So, what do heart valve, lung, trachea, kidney, bone, sinus, eye, and gingival infections all have in common?
They can all be caused by dental disease. Chronic dental disease leads to gum erosion, exposure of tooth roots, and bleeding gums. As gums bleed, the infection can become systemic and travel to other areas in the body.
Now, am I saying that these things will happen if your pet’s teeth aren’t cleaned routinely? No, but there is definitely an increased risk.
Most clients can identify their pet’s bad breath as they sit in their laps. However, neck lesions, broken tooth roots, loose teeth, cavities, and slab fractures are often only identified during a good oral exam while your pet is having a dental cleaning.
Often, I’m asked, “does my animal have to be asleep for this?” The answer is yes. In the 32 years I’ve been in this industry, I have yet to see a dog or cat rinse and spit, or lie back with their mouth held open. There are some facilities that offer teeth cleaning while the pet is awake. All this provides, if it’s even able to be done, is to scrape some tartar off of the teeth. It doesn’t clean below the gum, where the bacteria is causing gingival disease. Also, imagine how that scaling might feel to your pet by recalling your own dental cleaning experience (and you understood and consented!) You really have to consider, “did my pet actually hold still for this, and how did the scaler feel scraping against the gums”.
Having your pets teeth cleaned, as well as a good oral exam being performed, is an important step in prolonging your pets life.
-Dr. Glenn Huth