Proper dental care is an important part of keeping your pet healthy. Ardmore Animal Hospital offers full preventive dental care for all pets, including comprehensive cleanings, tooth extractions and gingival flap procedures for large tooth extractions.

Why is dental care so important for your pet? Periodontal disease, caused by a build-up of bacteria and plaque on your pet’s teeth and gums, can lead to bleeding and inflammation of the gums and the eventual loss of teeth. But the effects of periodontal disease are not limited to your pet’s mouth. As the disease progresses, bacteria can travel through the blood and damage the heart, liver and kidneys. More than 80 percent of dogs and cats have periodontal disease, and while it is extremely common, it is also highly preventable.

Dentistry for dogs in the Philadelphia area

Ardmore Animal Hospital utilizes digital dental radiology during dental exams in order to better view, diagnose and treat dental problems. Digital dental x-rays offer a clear, detailed view of your pet’s teeth and is extremely useful in identifying damaged teeth and trouble spots. Because digital dental x-rays produce clearer, more detailed images, your pet spends less time on the x-ray table, resulting in a safer, stress-free visit.

What's Involved with Teeth Cleaning?

Your pet’s dental cleaning begins with a general examination in order to evaluate his or her overall health and help us develop an anesthetic protocol. Because veterinary dental procedures are more involved than human dental procedures, anesthesia is required to keep your pet still and prevent stress and discomfort.

First, tartar is removed from the teeth using a hand scaler. A periodontal probe checks for pockets under the gumline where periodontal disease and bad breath start. An ultrasonic scaler is used to clean above the gumline, while a curette cleans and smooths the teeth under the gumline in the crevices. Next, your pet’s teeth are polished, creating a smooth surface. Finally, the gums are washed with an anti-bacterial solution to help delay tartar build-up, both under the gumline and on the crown of the tooth.

Extractions and Surgery

In advanced cases of periodontal disease, oral surgery or tooth extractions are required. The veterinarians at Ardmore Animal Hospital perform a wide range of dental procedures.

Home Prevention

Proper dental care doesn’t end when your pet leaves our veterinary hospital. Brushing your pet’s teeth is an excellent way to ensure your pet’s teeth, gums and mouth remain healthy. The staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital can show you the proper method of brushing your pet’s teeth.

What is periodontal disease?

Over 85% of dogs and cats have some type of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease simply means that the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place are being destroyed by oral bacteria. This preventable disease is the number one diagnosed disease in our pets, yet many animals suffer needlessly. Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis, or inflammation of the gum tissue, which is caused by plaque. Plaque is a mixture of saliva, bacteria, glycoproteins and sugars that adhere to the tooth surface. Within minutes after a cleaning, a thin layer of plaque has adhered to the teeth. Eventually this hardens to become calculus or tartar. Calculus by itself is nonpathogenic – it does not cause disease. However, it does create a rough surface for more plaque to adhere to, and pushes the gums away from the teeth, which increases surface area for more plaque to adhere. Eventually, the supporting structures of the tooth (bone, tissue, periodontal ligament) are destroyed and the tooth becomes mobile and will either fall out on its own or need to be extracted. Signs of periodontal disease are bad breath (halitosis), reluctancy to eat, chewing on one side of the mouth, dropping food, pawing at the face or rubbing the face on the floor, drooling, becoming head shy, and painful mouth/face.

Veterinarians recommend the following care for pets:

STEP 1: Bring your pet in for a dental exam. Don’t wait for his annual checkup if you suspect a problem.

STEP 2: Begin a dental care regimen at home. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily is very important. We also recommend using a specially formulated dental rinse, and dental chews and food. Please ask us if you need instructions on brushing your pet’s teeth, or if you have any other questions.

STEP 3: Schedule your pets for an annual teeth cleaning with x-rays. This is also very important and ensures we are catching any disease early enough to treat. Periodontal disease and oral bacteria can easily affect other organ systems including the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and brain.