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Dog Dental - Preventing Dental Disease In Your Dog

How does dental health impact the overall health of my dog?

Dental health significantly affects a dog's overall health in various ways. It influences their ability to eat comfortably, chew, and maintain a good quality of life. When a dog experiences significant dental issues, they might have difficulty eating due to discomfort. Additionally, bacteria entering the body through the mouth and accessing the bloodstream can travel to other organs, negatively impacting them, such as elevated liver enzymes and a decrease in general well-being.

Dr. Thomas DeHondt
DePorre Veterinary Hospital

How can I care for my dog's teeth at home?

There are several ways to maintain your dog's dental health at home. You can use dental chews and water additives to break down plaque on your dog's teeth. There are also oral rinses and similar options to help break down plaque enzymatically. However, the best method is brushing your dog's teeth, which allows you to remove plaque and tartar mechanically and with toothpaste. Brushing makes a significant difference in minimizing how frequently your dog will need a professional dental cleaning at the vet. However, all dogs will eventually need professional dental care.

What are some signs and symptoms of dental disease in dogs?

Common signs of dental disease in dogs include halitosis (bad breath) due to bacterial buildup and discomfort around the mouth, causing a dog to rub its face with its paws or on the floor. Furthermore, dogs might have difficulty chewing or drop food when eating. In severe cases of dental disease, systemic signs may be present, such as changes in blood values or overall demeanor and energy level fluctuations.

What are some common dental diseases in dogs?

The most common dental disease in dogs is periodontal disease, caused by a buildup of tartar and calculus on the teeth, which damages the underlying tissues beneath the gum line. When periodontal disease progresses, it can affect the teeth' integrity and lead to extractions. Other dental problems in dogs include benign and malignant growths in the mouth, whether on the gums, cheeks, or tongue, and dentigerous cysts - cysts that form around the jawbone near the teeth.

Why is early detection and diagnosis of dental disease so important?

Early detection of dental disease allows for minimization of the extent of required treatment. Regular dental care in dogs helps maintain clean teeth and minimize damage to periodontal tissues, reducing the likelihood of extractions. The longer bacteria is present and the more damage it causes, the more extensive dental work a dog may need.

How often should my dog's teeth be checked?

Conduct a full oral examination of your dog's mouth at least once every six to 12 months to track tartar buildup and dental disease. The frequency of professional dental cleanings under anesthesia varies depending on the dog's overall health, breed, and home care measures taken. It can range anywhere from less than a year to several years apart.

What does a professional dental cleaning look like for a dog?

A professional dental cleaning for a dog is similar to a human dental cleaning, except it is done under anesthesia. The dog is usually dropped off in the morning and stays for most of the day. During the procedure, dental professionals clean and scale the dog's teeth to remove tartar buildup, perform full mouth dental x-rays to assess changes underneath the gum line, and, if necessary, complete extractions or other additional work. Finally, they polish the dog's teeth, allowing the dog to go home with clean teeth and fresh breath.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (248) 609-1625, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media,

Dog Dental - FAQs

Dr. Thomas DeHondt
DePorre Veterinary Hospital

How do I know if my dog needs a dental exam?

It is generally recommended to have a dental exam for your dog every 6 to 12 months as part of their regular physical. However, if your dog starts to show signs of a painful mouth such as pawing at their mouth, having difficulty chewing, or if their breath worsens significantly, it could indicate that they need a dental exam sooner.

How do I know if my dog's teeth are causing them pain?

Interpreting signs of pain in dogs can be challenging; however, some common symptoms include rubbing their face with their paws, rubbing their face on the ground, favoring one side of their mouth when chewing, or chewing more gingerly. Dogs might also act more lethargic or differently than usual, indicating potential oral pain caused by dental issues.

Is there anything I can do to help my dog prepare for a dental appointment?

At home, you can help minimize the need for dental cleanings by brushing your dog's teeth and using products such as rinses and water additives. However, once your dog requires a dental cleaning, the best preparation is to schedule an appointment. The veterinarian will typically check your dog's blood work to ensure they are safe for anesthesia before the dental procedure. On the day of the appointment, follow the instructions provided, such as having your dog come in fasted.

Will my dog be getting dental x-rays?

Yes, all dentistry patients receive full mouth dental x-rays. This allows the veterinarian to examine any changes beneath the gum line that might not be visible during an oral exam. Dental x-rays can reveal issues that might not have been detected otherwise.

How long does a dog dental cleaning appointment take?

Typically, the dental appointment will require your dog to stay at the facility for most of the day since the procedure is done under anesthesia. The actual dental cleaning process takes around 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the level of dental disease. If there are extractions, the appointment could take significantly longer.

If my dog does need extractions, will he be given pain medication?

Definitely. Pain medications are given as part of the anesthesia protocol before the extractions are performed. If there is significant dental disease and pain, and additional treatments are necessary, dogs will receive both injections of pain medication during recovery and oral pain medication to take home. Follow-up appointments can be scheduled if you believe your dog is still experiencing discomfort, and adjustments to the medication may be made if needed.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (248) 609-1625, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media,

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