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The “Tooth”, the Whole “Tooth” and Nothing but the “Tooth” about Veterinary Dentistry By Bobbi Jo Massic, DVM Fact has it that periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition found in adult cats and dogs, and according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) 85% of dogs and cats are affected by three years of age! Early detection is critical because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Bacteria have access to the blood supply below the gums and can seed to other areas in the body where they can cause heart, liver or kidney disease. Now, want the good news? Periodontal disease is entirely preventable! What is Periodontal Disease? First, let’s break down the word into its Greek roots for a clearer understanding: “Perio” means around and “dontal” means tooth. Periodontal disease is the disease surrounding the tooth and therefore it mostly exists below the gum line in an area we cannot readily visualize. Saliva, food and bacteria collectively form plaque which later mineralizes into tartar that builds up, covering most of the crown of the tooth and eventually moves into the socket. This can lead to tooth decay and loss, and the jaw bone can become compromised and can even break! Regular home care involving daily brushing, oral rinses, gels or wipes, water additives, dental treats or chews, and dental diets are all great maintenance options and should be directed by your veterinarian, however not every pet or person is amenable to these options. Expect that your pet will need a professional oral evaluation and prophylaxis every 6-12 months by your veterinarian despite your home care plan. Will My Pet Go Under Anesthesia for a Dental Cleaning Procedure? When you go to your dentist, you know and understand that what is being done is meant to help keep you and your mouth healthy, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures and he or she may react by moving, trying to Flip a Lip! escape, or even bite which may result in injury to themselves, The rules of prevention are basically the same whether the the staff and equipment. teeth belong to a human or a pet. Out of all the members of Anesthesia makes it possible your family, chances are it will not be difficult to guess who to perform the procedure with has the worst dental hygiene: the pets. Flip your pet’s lips little stress or pain for your routinely and check the gums and teeth, especially towards pet and allows for a better the back of the mouth. Also have your pet’s mouth checked cleaning and evaluation which by a veterinarian at least once a year but sooner if you notice includes dental radiographs any of the following: (x-rays) and probing below the • Bad breath gum line. Cosmetic cleanings • Broken, discolored, or loose teeth or “non-anesthetic” cleanings • Extra teeth, retained baby teeth or misaligned teeth can actually make existing • Abnormal chewing, excessive drooling, dropping food dental disease worse and from the mouth does not address periodontal • Reduced appetite or refusal to eat disease where it occurs and • Bleeding, pain or swelling around the face or mouth where scaling is the most • Unexplained irritability or other behavioral changes important: under the gum line. Animal Surgery Clinic While February is National Pet Dental Health Month, • Advanced Surgical Training dental health should be a daily ritual for pet owners. • Experienced, Dedicated Staff At the Animal Clinic of Billings, we offer a free oral exam • State-of-the-art Facility and, if further evaluation or of a Severely procedure is needed, • Outstanding Care Injured Pets we offer a discount incentive year-round to help get your pets the oral care they need and deserve! Please call and schedule today! 252-9499 Bobbi Jo Massic, DVM Animal Clinic of Billings and Animal Surgery Clinic Providing our region’s companion animals and their families what they need and deserve since 1981 1414 10th St. West |

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