2012-06-22 / Columnists

The Veterinary Corner

Good Dental Care Improves Your Pet’s Health
Commentary By Jay Rogoff And Susan Whittred, DVM

Care for your pet’s teeth truly is a fountain of youth for your furry friend. The Animal Hospital of the Rockaways recommends starting your pet with appropriate food and the right kind of toys when he or she first joins your household. Preventive dental care is a key component of maintaining your pet’s overall good health.

Because the number one health problem diagnosed in cats and dogs over 4 years of age is periodontal disease, we provide an extensive dental care program. At your pet’s regular check-ups, we thoroughly check your pet’s mouth for:

 Correct bite

 Jaw injury

 Abscesses

 Gingivitis

 Fractured teeth

 Damage to enamel

 Tartar and calculus build-up

If we suspect that there is a problem, we will take digital dental X-rays for a closer look. Unlike traditional film Xrays, these images use far less radiation and can be magnified greatly so we can see anomalies more easily. We recommend professional cleaning above and below the gum line for your pet’s teeth at the first sign of tartar or plaque.

Keeping Your Pet’s Teeth Clean the Professional Way

Regular dental prophylaxis includes professional cleaning and polishing to help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. At the Animal Hospital of the Rockaways, we have a separate dental suite and your pet will be constantly monitored. We clean the teeth ultrasonically, removing tartar and calculus. Then we polish to smooth uneven surfaces where bacteria might hide. Finally, we can apply a sealant that will protect your pet’s teeth for 6 months.

Future Dental Problems Can Be Prevented

Pets who receive good dental care are more likely to live longer, healthier lives and prevention is always preferred to treating sick pets. We recommend several strategies to avoid future problems with your pet’s teeth. Dental sealants can be applied to teeth to protect the enamel. These will prevent further damage and perhaps prevent us from having to extract the tooth. Home care is very important. We are pleased to teach you how to brush your pet’s teeth and will make other suggestions for special products you can use that can help keep the teeth, gums, and mouth healthier.

Pet Dental Anesthesia and Pain Relief

All dental procedures we perform, from cleanings to extractions, include general anesthesia so that your pet will not move and potentially hurt him- or herself. Pain medication and a local nerve block are administered for added pain relief before, during, and after any procedures. Just as we do before surgery, we perform pre-anesthetic blood tests and an EKG before anesthesia is given. Your pet’s vital signs are carefully monitored and a skilled veterinary technician stays with your pet throughout the procedure.

If you have any questions or would like to find out how to make your animal kissing sweet visit us at the Animal Hospital of the Rockaways, 114-10 Beach Channel Drive or call us at 718-474-0500.

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