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Pets need dental care too... 

More than 85% of dogs and cats over four years old have some form of periodontal disease, a painful inflammatory condition in which bacteria attack the gums, ligament and bone tissues that surround and support the teeth. If left unchecked, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs, causing infections there and seriously compromising your pet's health. 

Because pets do not tolerate scaling their teeth and areas under their gum line, at the Bancroft Veterinary Clinic we use general anesthetic for our patients having their teeth cleaned. The teeth are scaled with hand tools and an ultrasonic scaler and then polished. Each of our dental patients has a full set of dental radiographs to look for any issues beneath the gumline.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Plaque is a colorless film that contains large amounts of bacteria. If left unchecked, plaque can mineralize into tartar, destroying gums and resulting in the loss of the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Preventative oral care can reduce the formation of plaque and help maintain proper oral health throughout your pet's life. 

Signs of Periodontal Disease

All pets are at risk for developing dental problems. Once your pet displays one or more of the warning signs below, serious periodontal disease may be present. Don't wait for these signs. Start a preventative program of supervised dental care with the Bancroft Veterinary Clinic today.

  • Bad breath

  • Yellow-brown crust on the teeth

  • Bleeding gums

  • Going to the food bowl but nor eating

  • Change of chewing habits

  • Tooth loss

  • Subdued behavior

  • Abnormal drooling

  • Dropping food out of the mouth

  • Swallowing food whole

Contributing Factors

Poor Oral Hygiene
Ignoring the condition of your pet's mouth can lead to periodontal disease, tooth loss, and other health problems. 

Periodontal disease is more common in smaller dogs and pure breed cats. 

Periodontal disease is more common as pets grow older

Home Tips

Tips on brushing your pet's teeth:

  • Introduce a brushing program gradually; training your pet for this procedure may take several days or weeks.

  • At first, dip your finger into beef bullion for a dog or tuna water for cats and rub your finger over the pet's mouth and teeth.

  • Make these initial sessions brief and positive.

  • Introduce gauze on your finger with the same beef or tuna flavor and begin rubbing the teeth in a circular motion.

  • Before graduating to a soft-bristle toothbrush, put a small amount of pet toothpaste on your finger and allow your pet to taste it.

  • Place the toothpaste on the toothbrush and allow your pet to lick the bristles.

  • Apply a small dab of toothpaste to a moist toothbrush and begin brushing gently at a 45° angle away from the gumline.

  • Do not use a toothpaste designed for people; it contains ingredients that may upset your pet's stomach.

Dental Facts

Dog Dental Facts

  • Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that erupt at about three to four weeks of age. They have 42 permanent teeth that begin to emerge at about four months.

  • Symptoms of gum disease in dogs include yellow and brown build-up of tartar along the gum line, inflamed gums and persistent bad breath.

  • Broken teeth are a common problem, especially among outdoor dogs. According to veterinary dental experts, aggressive chewing on hard objects, such as commercially available cow hooves, is a primary cause of broken teeth in dogs.

Cat Dental Facts

  • Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to erupt at about two to three weeks of age. They have 30 permanent teeth that erupt at about three to four months.

  • Symptoms of periodontal disease in cats include yellow and brown tartar buildup along the gum line, red inflamed gums and persistent bad breath.

  • Cats can develop painful cervical line lesions. Studies show that about 28 percent of domestic cats develop at least one of these painful lesions during their lifetime.

What To Expect During a Dental Cleaning

Cleaning a dog's or cat's teeth is done in much the same manner as with humans, except that animals are put under light anesthesia to facilitate the process.

Depending on your pet's health status and age, pre-anesthetic lab work may need to be done in order to insure your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia. If your pet has significant dental disease or any heart issues, it will likely be given an antibiotic for 4-5 days prior to the dental procedure. You will also need to withhold food for a certain number of hours ahead of time. 

Following IV catheter placement and anesthetic induction, a technician will examine the mouth and then use an ultrasonic scaler and hand scalers to remove tartar and plaque above and below the gum line. After scaling, the teeth are examined by the veterinarian for infection, gingival pockets, resorptive lesions, or other oral disease.

Dental radiographs are taken of all the tooth roots. The majority of dental problems occur below the gum line, so dental radiographs greatly improve our ability to offer the best dental care to our patients. If radiographs show disease involving tooth roots, the veterinarian will decide on a treatment plan and proceed if authorized to do so. 

Abscessed teeth and those with resorptive lesions of the roots will be extracted. Sometimes this can be simply and other times requires surgery. If enamel defects and certain types of tooth fractures are discovered, a bonded sealant can be applied that will stop pain and preserve the health of the affected tooth. 

The final step of teeth cleaning is polishing the surface and flushing the mouth with a disinfecting rinse. This is important to leave the teeth with smooth surfaces that help reduce future plaque and tartar accumulation.

After the dental, your pet is monitored until it wakes from anesthesia. Patients usually go home later in the day of their dental procedure. Depending on what was done, your pet may have medications and/or special feeding instructions for the first few days after the procedure.


Dental Bonding

We have the equipment and expertise to apply bonded sealant to your pet's teeth. It can be done at the same time as a dental cleaning. 

The main indication for bonded sealants are uncomplicated crown fractures where no pulp of the tooth is exposed. It is also used when there are defects in the enamel.

The benefits of bonded sealant beyond cosmetic appearance are:

  • Stops pain and sensitivity

  • Blocks the pathway for infection and further decay

  • Allows improved healing of dentin

  • Prevents rapid plaque and tartar formation on the affected area

Patients are able to eat and drink normally following the restoration.

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