The Danger of Untreated Dental Disease
are unaware of the importance of their pet's dental health.
teeth appear clean and unproblematic, but unseen plaque, which is an
accumulation of bacteria, will build up and form calculus (tartar). Calculus
irritates the gums and the infection progresses to loosen and destroy teeth.
When the pet eats, calculus will create a shower of bacteria into the blood
stream and can spread to the liver, kidneys, and heart.
important to have your pet's teeth checked at least once a year. Your
veterinarian should examine all teeth and evaluate the amount of plaque and or
tartar. If teeth are cleaned when they have little plaque or tartar, it is
preventing disease, similar to your yearly dental visit. If you wait until there is visible tartar
accumulation, dental disease is present, which may require further treatment.
calculus from teeth with just a hand scraper, or while the pet is awake, does
not address the biggest problem, disease below the gum line. It is important to use an ultrasonic scaler,
as this instrument reaches below the gum line.
radiographs (x-rays) are also an important part of the dental treatment
process; they allow the veterinarian to assess the attachment of teeth to the
bone, if any abscesses are present, or if fractures below the gumline have
anesthesia is necessary to: clean below the gum line, control pain, and place a
tube to prevent bacteria from entering the windpipe. In general, untreated dental disease puts your pet at a greater
risk than anesthesia. Blood work is recommended to assess risk. Gas anesthesia
and patient monitoring by a licensed veterinary technician adds to the safety
of any procedure.
dental care by licensed veterinary professionals helps to keep your pet
Please visit our Dental FAQ page for more information on the dental cleaning process.