Monday, February 9, 2015

Importance of Pet Dentistry

By Jane Bishop

Pet dentistry has become an established aspect of good veterinary care. And for good reason! Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, and is entirely preventable. By three years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, other than bad breath, there are few signs of the disease process evident to the owner.
Prior to Cleaning
     Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth form a substance called plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Subsequently, minerals in the saliva harden the plaque in to dental calculus (tarter), which is firmly attached to the teeth. Tarter above the gum line is obvious to most owners, but is not of itself the cause of disease.
     The real problem develops as plaque and calculus spread under the gum line. Bacteria in this sub- gingival plaque set in motion a cycle of damage to the tissues around the teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. Bacteria under the gum line secrete toxins which contribute to tissue damage if left untreated.

      Periodontal disease includes gingivitis (reddening of gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth). There is a wide range in the appearance and severity of periodontal disease, which often cannot be properly evaluated or treated without general anesthesia for veterinary patients. Effects within the oral cavity include damage to or loss of gum tissue and bone around the teeth, development of a fistula from the oral cavity in to the nasal passages causing nasal discharge, fractures of the jaw following weakening of the jaw bone, and bone infection (osteomyelititis).

        Bacteria from the mouth can also enter the bloodstream, and in studies have shown to be associated with changes in heart, liver, and kidney function. If you notice changes in your pets breath, redness of gum tissue, changes in eating habits, or painful around the muzzle, please contact the staff at  Central Kentucky Veterinary Center to schedule a thorough oral examination and consultation on treatment options.

After cleaning