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Gum Diseases:

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop gum disease by the age of three years. Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition affecting dogs and cats. Infection and inflammation of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth are caused by bacteria present in plaque and calculus (tartar). The problem begins when plaque and calculus are allowed to build up on a pet's teeth, especially below the gumline. Bad breath, bleeding and inflammation of the gums, receding gums, loosening and the eventual loss of teeth are characteristic of the condition. Prophylactic treatment to keep the teeth clean is therefore of great importance. Your veterinarian may recommend an oral hygiene program that includes regularly brushing your pets' teeth with a toothpaste formulated for animals. Diet is a major factor in the development of plaque and calculus. Soft or sticky foods should therefore be avoided, while certain chewing toys are beneficial. A specially formulated diet with dental benefits (reduced accumulation of plaque and calculus) is now available for dogs.

Lack of oral hygiene results in plaque and calculus accumulation:

Plaque

 

Regular dental check-up visits to your veterinarian are strongly recommended; the interval between check-up's varies from pet to pet and also depends on how effective the home care program is. Hardened tartar should be removed by your veterinarian, as this requires the use of special instruments and equipment. Routine periodontal treatment performed by a veterinarian typically includes ultrasonic scaling, subgingival manual scaling, and polishing. All dental procedures in pets, including scaling and polishing, are performed under general anesthesia. The current state-of-the-art of veterinary anesthesia is such, that this poses minimal risk. The adverse effects of bad teeth on the overall health of the animal also greatly outweigh the anesthetic risk.

There are clear indications that oral health status has a profound effect on the animal's general health. Periodontal disease may cause bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream with potentially deleterious effects on internal organs. Conversely, poor systemic health may manifest in the oral cavity in various ways and may also exacerbate periodontal disease.

Before cleaning:

before cleaning

After cleaning:

after cleaning

Dental fractures are very common in the dog, and dental treatment is mandatory if pulp exposure has occurred. The exposed pulp is not only very painful, but also becomes necrotic; the formation of a periapical granuloma or "tooth abscess" is also possible.Oral surgery in pets includes extractions, jaw fracture repair and oral tumor management. Unfortunately not all teeth can be saved and extraction is often the treatment of choice. Extraction techniques have been refined in order to minimize the pain and discomfort. Prevention however, remains better than cure. Trauma in dogs and cats is common and jaw fractures occur relatively frequently. The management of jaw fractures is an important aspect of oral surgery. New techniques for fracture repair have been designed and existing techniques modified to minimize damage to teeth and ensure a rapid return to normal function.

 

 

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