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By VCA University
Published: January 29, 2013

Clean teeth, fresh breath, and a great smile are what it takes to be assured that your pet is in excellent oral and physical health. Dental disease does not only take a toll on your pets’ oral health, but severe progression can significantly affect function of the heart, liver, and kidneys. We feel that it is not only important to spread dental health awareness during National Pet Dental Health month in February, but it is a rising concern 365 days a year. Our belief in maintaining optimal oral pet health has encouraged us to extend our dental health special months from February and October, to all year round. We have dropped the price of our dentals by TWENTY percent. We're also changing the way we approach "dentals" by even changing the terminology we use - it's more than a "dental", it's Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment.

Unlike humans, daily oral care is restricted in pets. Many pet owners come across difficulty when attempting to brush their pets’ teeth. Minimal plaque is normal, we all have it, but without daily oral hygienic care, it becomes very difficult to maintain optimal pet oral health.

It has been reported that two-thirds of felines and sixty-eight percent of canines, over the age of three, have prominent dental disease. Dental disease begins with the accumulation of plaque or biofilm, a thin layer of bacteria on the teeth. As time goes on, the plaque mineralizes and becomes tartar. Tartar takes on the color of a tan/brown. This is layer of hard bacteria that grips onto the sole of the tooth and onto the gums. The pressing of the tartar on the gums and on the tooth results in redness and inflammation, also known as gingivitis. The tartar then develops into calculus. With significant tartar and/or calculus on the teeth, many pets develop periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of the gums, bone and ligaments that support the tooth. Progression of periodontal disease leads to significant tooth decay, increased tooth mobility, and if bacteria continue to spread, abscesses can form. An abscess results from the migration of bacteria into the actual tooth socket, creating a cavity in which the sensitive areas of a tooth, the roots and nerves, are exposed. This causes excruciating pain. Cervical neck lesions, or oral resorptive lesions, and carnassial abscesses are some of the most common forms of oral infection. Neck lesions and abscesses are painful destructions of the enamel resulting in deepening holes or cavities in the teeth.

Our canine and feline friends are experts at hiding pain. Some show little to no sign of pain until it is at its’ worst. Clinical signs of obvious discomfort include but are not limited to, pawing at the face, decreased appetite, inability to chew hard food, and sometimes swelling around the face.

Please come in today to set up an oral health exam and take advantage of our oral health services!