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Pet Dental FAQ: Your Top Pet Dental Care Questions Answered

The majority of pets aged three years or older already show symptoms of gum disease. While our pet’s breath may never be “minty fresh”, bad breath is a common symptom of gum disease and other oral health problems. Do you know the other warning signs of gum disease or how to tell if your pet needs a dental cleaning? Below, we answer five of the most common questions about pet dental care and gum disease.

#1: How do I know my pet needs a dental cleaning?

Keep in mind that your pet cannot brush his or her own teeth, so every time your pets eats food or chews on something, tiny food particles and bacteria can build up along the gum line. While pet dental care treats can sometimes help fight this build up or improve your pet’s breath, these treats are not a substitute for dental cleanings. Can you imagine how unpleasant your breath and teeth would be if you did not brush your teeth for a year? For these reasons, our veterinarian recommends dental cleanings every year.

#2: What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Gum disease is common in both cats and dogs. This disease is characterized by the inflammation of the gums and the loss of bone and soft tissues around the teeth. As the disease advanced, pockets of space may form between the gums and the teeth. Bacteria can enter these pockets, secrete toxins and cause infections and tooth loss. Gum disease symptoms include especially bad breath, swollen gums, bleeding gums, receding gum line, and missing teeth. If your pet is suffering from gum disease, chewing on hard foods or even playing with toys can be painful. Consequently, you may notice that your pet is reluctant to play a game of fetch or eat his favorite meal.

#3: How is gum disease detected?

Regular checkups at our veterinary hospital are essential for detecting the symptoms of gum disease. In the early stages of gum disease, symptoms may not be obvious to the naked eye. X-rays provide an “inside look” at a pet’s gum and teeth health, which can help detect symptoms of the disease before more obvious warning signs develop. Annual dental check-ups with Dr. Drake include a full diagnostic exam evaluating the health of your pet’s teeth and gums.

#4: What happens during a pet dental cleaning?

For the safety and comfort of your pet, dental cleanings are done under anesthesia. Consequently, prior to a dental cleaning, Dr. Drake will conduct diagnostic blood work to ensure it is safe for your pet to be put under anesthesia. Once your pet is safely sedated, Dr. Drake will scrape away plaque build-up from the gum line. Next, we will polish your pet’s teeth; a sooth surface helps to prevent future plaque build-up.

#5: How do I schedule a dental cleaning?

Contact St. Francis Animal Center at 702-675-8366 to schedule a pet dental appointment.


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Dr. Drake and CarolAnn are amazing! They have been caring for my dogs for over 10 years now and I have never had one complaint. They are always so happy to see my dogs and provide them with the most compassionate care. I recommend them to any seeking an honest, caring, loving, empathizing and helpful veterinarian!

Bob H.
Las Vegas, NV

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