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Posted on 02-13-2018

It’s February which means it’s National Pet Dental Health Month. In the spirit of celebration, I just wanted to share a few thoughts and conversations that I have every day with pet owners who are curious about dental health.

  1. I understand. There are probably days that you’re happy that you remembered to feed your pet, let alone take the time to brush their teeth (Trust me, I’ve been there!). That’s why I like to encourage easy things, like dental treats and special dental diets, in addition to the not-so-easy things (like brushing) so that a dental regimen becomes second nature. Committing to clean teeth is challenging and I know it’s not a perfect process. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the maintenance regimen, tell me! Let’s work together to find something that works with your lifestyle and your pet’s preferences.
  2. Small mouths often come with big problems. In my experience, smaller breed dogs and cats tend to have the worst teeth. Even with diligent brushing and a dental treat regimen, it’s highly likely that I’ll recommend a dental cleaning at some point. There’s just a lot of teeth in a small, crowded space- lots of places for bacteria, plaque, and tartar to adhere!
  3. Yes, I really DO have to anesthetize your pet to perform a dental. In the past, many veterinarians would perform scaling (removal of plaque and tartar) without anesthesia. Today, the American Veterinary Dental College strongly opposes this practice (You can read more about why here: https://www.avdc.org/statements.html). At Falcon Valley, we only perform dental cleanings under anesthesia so that we can properly and thoroughly scale, polish, and take full mouth dental radiographs (just like our dentists!) to identify any disease above and below the gumline.
  4. Dog (and cat) breath is gross. Unfortunately, according to the Veterinary Oral Health Council, this is usually just the beginning. When dental disease progresses beyond the surface of the tooth to below the gumline (also known as periodontal disease), we usually start to see oral pain and even a loss of appetite. Some tooth roots can become so diseased that they fall out! If that isn’t horrifying enough, studies have shown that dogs with advanced periodontal disease have more severe microscopic damage to their kidneys, heart muscles, and liver due to bacteria entering into the bloodstream from the infected mouth. With that said...
  5. I’m really not trying to “sell you” a dental. Whenever I recommend an anesthetic dental cleaning, it’s because I truly feel that the procedure will help your pet have a happier and more comfortable life from a clean, pain-free mouth.

Ready to take the next step for your pet? Call us today at 913-764-7387.


Dr. Kristin

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