Pet Oral Exams and Cleanings: More Than Just a Pretty Smile
When some pet owners think of dental care, they often assume it’s just a cleaning. However, oral exams entail an assessment of dental and gum health, nutritional or dietary adjustments, and safe dental cleanings, as recommended.
Even the concept of dental cleanings remains somewhat vague. Is it just to produce fresh breath and a whiter smile? Actually, no. Dental cleanings can greatly diminish your pet’s chances of developing periodontal disease, as well as other health complications.
Dental Care is Preventive Health Care
As a pet ages, neglecting dental hygiene can result in dental disease, tooth loss, abscesses, and other secondary health problems. In fact, an estimated 80-90% of all canines and felines over the age of 3 suffer from some form of dental disease. Lack of dental care can also shorten the lifespan of a beloved pet.
Considering the consequences of untreated dental disease, it’s important to create awareness around the necessity of oral examinations and cleanings. But what exactly do these procedures involve, and why are they so critical to keeping teeth and gums healthy?
The Importance of Oral Exams
Oral exams are essential to the health of cats, dogs, rabbits, and other small rodents. During the exam, your veterinarian will assess the condition of your pet’s teeth and gums, which includes looking for evidence of bad breath, loose or broken teeth, inflamed or bleeding gums, and discoloration.
Your pet’s oral exam is also a good opportunity to discuss at-home dental care. This might include brushing your pet’s teeth, adjusting his or her diet, knowing the signs of dental problems, and learning other tactics to prevent dental disease.
For a more accurate diagnosis of oral health, digital x-rays or other diagnostic tests may be ordered. Since there’s a limit to what can be done while your pet is fully awake, anesthesia is often used during a more comprehensive exam.
Anesthesia Assisted Cleanings
When periodontal disease is present or enough plaque and tartar have developed to increase the risk of this disease, dental cleanings are often necessary. This is because an oral condition cannot be treated with tooth brushing alone (although tooth brushing is still required to prevent more plaque from building).
Dental cleanings are performed under anesthesia and are a common procedure at Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic. Some owners may be uneasy with the idea of anesthesia assisted cleanings. However, all cleanings are performed safely and are monitored by a veterinarian with the assistance of our skilled technicians.
Dental cleanings and oral exams are the best options for treating and preventing dental disease. As always, we’re committed to enhancing the health and longevity of your pet, and our team is happy to answer your questions. Please contact us to learn more about our approach to dental care.
“Dr. Yetter’s professional & compassionate care enabled us to have Lady as a member of our family for over 17 years. Through his knowledge, extensive research, and willingness to reach out, he provided Lady with a long quality life in spite of numerous health issues. We are eternally grateful.”
— Diane & Terry Svob
“Dr. Yetter and the staff at Prairie Ridge have given excellent care to my family of pets for about 20 years. I always feel comfortable asking questions and knowing I will get complete, caring answers. Dr. Yetter researches to find the best treatment options. My cats and dog are family to me, and we trust Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic.”
“We are so grateful for the hard work and extra research Dr. Yetter did for our Tansy-cat to find out why she wasn’t eating. If there is a time when your most precious friend is ill and you need to trust someone to care for them, Dr. Yetter is definitely that person! He went above and beyond to do everything he could to save our beautiful Tansy.”
— Tom & Bev Berberett
“My pets have been patients of Dr. Yetter and his great staff for many years, and I have always been grateful for their efficiency and helpfulness. Having good care right here in Havana is a big plus!”
— Jan McFarlin
“I began to bring in my labs into PRVC when I started working there, and was happy to have such a caring and knowledgeable doctor to take care of two of my best friends. It always amazes me just how much care goes into each and every animal, let alone the perseverance of Dr. Yetter and staff (I should call them family) in working out how to treat each and every problem.”
— Chris Johnson