Dental health is an important component of your pet’s overall wellbeing. In addition to affecting the teeth and gums, poor oral health can also negatively impact the heart, liver and kidneys.
Dental problems: What to look for
As a general rule of thumb, your pet should have his teeth and gums examined and deeply cleaned at least once a year. However, if you notice any of the following signs of serious dental problems, it’s important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible:
- Bad breath
- Broken teeth
- Loose teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Chewing difficulties
- Diminished appetite
- Excessive drooling
- Tartar buildup
- Pain, bleeding and swelling
What to expect at your appointment
We will need to see your pet ahead of scheduling an anesthetic dental cleaning to establish patient care and perform pre-anesthetic lab testing based on your pet's age in order to ensure they are within good enough health to undergo anesthesia. Your pet's safety is always our number one priority.
Your pet’s teeth cleaning will be done under anesthesia so that our team can safely and completely remove plaque and tartar. If dental extractions are necessary we will inform you to obtain your consent.
When you arrive at our Northridge clinic, we will perform X-rays of your pet’s mouth to evaluate the jaw and tooth roots as needed.
Common dental problems in cats and dogs
- Broken teeth
- Periodontal disease
- Infection or abscess
- Misaligned teeth and bite
- Cyst or tumor
- Palate defects
- Broken jaw
Pet periodontal disease: What you need to know
Periodontal disease is a very common pet dental problem. The condition begins with plaque hardening into tarter, which can lead to infection and bone loss if it spreads below the gum line.
Most of the animals we see at our Northridge vet clinic have signs of periodontal disease. If the condition is allowed to progress, it can cause your best friend immense pain and may lead to a host of health problems, including heart, kidney and liver issues.
The stages of periodontal disease
A medical emergency is frightening for you and your best friend. Here’s how to handle it:
At this stage there is no bone loss – but the gums are red and swollen. The mouth is still generally healthy, but plaque is starting to accumulate. Stage one is considered to be reversible with diligent maintenance at home and routine professional cleanings.
Once periodontal disease has progressed to stage two, noticeable inflammation, swelling, sensitivity and plaque build-up are present and x-rays will show some degree of bone loss. Treatment at this stage focuses on preventing the disease from progressing with immediate professional care.
At stage three, your pet’s irritated and swollen gums will bleed easily and x-rays will reveal substantial bone loss. This stage poses a serious risk to your pet’s overall health. Treatment will include professional dental care and diligent home maintenance.
Stage four reflects chronic, ongoing periodontal disease. Your pet will suffer from severe inflammation, recessed gums, bone loss, bleeding and deep gum pockets. At this point irreversible damage has been done and urgent extractions are necessary.
Optimal oral health care starts at home
Prevention is key when it comes to your pet’s health. Regularly brushing his or her teeth can reduce the frequency of necessary cat and dog teeth cleanings, while preventing periodontal disease and keeping her teeth and gums in optimal shape.
Although it’s ideal to brush your animal’s teeth daily, several times a week is sufficient. Both dogs and cats are usually resistant to this process at first, but your pet will get used to the routine with patience and persistence on your part.
During your visit to our Northridge clinic, our pet dentists will talk to you about everything you can do at home to preserve your animal’s oral health.
Make an appointment today
If your pet isn’t feeling well, there’s no need to wait through the night or weekend. Visit our emergency vet hospital in Northridge and get the urgent care your best friend needs and deserves.
- Monday 9:00am 6:00pm
- Tuesday 9:00am 6:00pm
- Wednesday 9:00am 6:00pm
- Thursday 9:00am 6:00pm
- Friday 9:00am 6:00pm
- Saturday Closed
- Sunday Closed