Our Memphis vets provide veterinary dental and oral care for cats and dogs in Cordova and throughout Tennessee.
Dentistry for cats and dogs involves the cleaning, adjustment, filling, extraction, or repair of the teeth, as well as ongoing oral hygiene management.
Dental problems in cats or dogs can be related to a variety of other health problems. Like humans, without regular cleanings cats and dogs are susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay.
Annual dental checkups and cleanings will allow the vet to identify developing problems and prevent them from becoming serious.
Your pet should visit our veterinary hospital every year for an oral health checkup and cleaning.
The dental appointment process begins with a complete examination of your pet’s mouth by the veterinarian. X-rays may be required to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots.
Since most dental disease in animals occurs below the gumline, where it can't be seen with the naked eye, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation must be performed under anesthesia.
The dental cleaning will consist of scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, much like the process of your own dental cleanings.
When you visit the dentist, you understand that the dental procedures you undergo are designed to keep your mouth healthy.
Your dentist can explain procedures to you, and so you accept them and let the dentist get on with it.
Cats and dogs do not understand any of this – and so they react by moving, trying to escape, or biting. Anesthesia allows us to perform dental procedures on your pet safely, and with less stress.
Additionally, if digital radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet must be very still in order to get good images. Anesthesia also helps with this.
The following symptoms may indicate dental problems:
If you notice that your dog or cat is experiencing any of these symptoms, a dental checkup is in order.
We make every effort to provide a relaxed dental experience for your pet. You'll find that our modern dental surgery suite has many of the same elements as a dental office that you would visit.
We use many of the same types of equipment, including high-speed dental units, digital dental radiography units, and leading edge anesthesia monitoring and delivery equipment.
Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth, and is one of the main causes of early tooth loss in cats and dogs.
Periodonal disease develops when bacteria combine with food particles to form acid plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth.
The bacteria then work their way under the gums, causing gingivitis — inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease.
Once under the gums, the acid plaque produced by the bacteria slowly destroys the supporting tissue around the tooth, leading to tooth loss. This condition is known as periodontitis.
The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also travel in the bloodstream, causing health problems in other parts of the body such as the heart, kidneys, and liver.
By some estimates, 85 percent of all pets have some level of periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age.
A dental cleaning for a cat or dog will involve many of the same elements as dental cleanings for humans, including:
• Plaque and tartar removal from the teeth and under the gum line
• Examination of dental sockets to assess dental disease
• Polishing to smooth enamel
• Dental x-rays to evaluate problems below the gumline and between the teeth
• Application of fluoride or dental sealant
• Removal or repair of damaged teeth
• Dental charting so progression of dental disease can be monitored over time
• Examination of the lips, tongue, and entire mouth for growths, wounds, or other problems
You can take a number of steps at home to keep your pet’s teeth clean between cleanings.
For example, your veterinarian may suggest a plaque prevention product to be applied to your pet’s teeth and gums on a weekly basis. These types of products adhere to the tooth surface, creating a barrier that prevents plaque from forming.
Daily brushing can help remove food particles from between your pet’s teeth and keep teeth healthy. You can use a child’s toothbrush or purchase a finger brush from your veterinarian.
Certain diets and treats can also help reduce the occurrence of plaque and tartar. These diets tend to have larger kibble for abrasive action against the tooth surface when chewed. They may also contain ingredients that help prevent tartar mineralization.
Anesthesia will always come with some risks, but it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve. The risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits.
Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.