Why Veterinary Dentistry is Important

You may have heard that it is possible to add two to four years to your pet's life with proper dental care. This is true, but you will also increase his or her health, vitality and wellbeing. In short, proper dental care will help ensure your pet leads the best life possible.

However, if left untreated, dental disease can not only be painful and inhibit proper nutrition, but it can also lead to serious systemic issues that may threaten your pet's health before symptoms are noticeable. For example, oral bacteria that enter the bloodstream can damage your pet's kidneys, heart or liver.

Despite the importance of proper dental care, dental disease is often overlooked by many pet owners across the country. For example, it is estimated that more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop tooth and gum disease by the age of three years.

Simply stated, veterinary dental care is an important piece of your dog or cat's preventative health care program. It will not only prevent dental and systemic disease, but in also help minimize the lifetime cost of care for your pet.

Dental Services at Chesterfield Veterinary Center

Chesterfield Veterinary Center takes the oral and dental health of your cat or dog very seriously and believes that dental care is an important piece of your pet's preventative care.

The centerpiece of good dental care is a complete oral exam followed by a thorough cleaning. Dental cleanings include ultrasonic scaling followed by polishing and a mouth rinse, the combination of which is designed to remove plaque and slow its buildup.

We also offer digital dental X-rays, which are high-definition images that provide a view below your pet's gum line and jaw in order to look for evidence of dental disease that cannot be seen by visual examination alone. This is a wonderful tool for enabling the treatment of dental issues before they become much larger and more expensive medical issues.

Should we find any issues, such as evidence of gum or tooth decay, gingivitis, or excessive plaque buildup, we will discuss this with you and provide treatment options. All of our doctors are highly experienced dental practitioners and capable of offering a number of dental procedures and oral surgeries. For more complicated or severe cases, we may refer you to a board certified specialist.

Home Dental Care

Dental care is not something that can be left to periodic visits with your veterinarian. Because plaque buildup—the primary cause of poor oral health—is a gradual process occurring throughout the life of your pet, it is important to practice good home dental care. As with humans, this means regular tooth brushing and in some cases additional steps may be necessary. Any member of the our staff can show you the proper method for caring for your pet's teeth as well as help you select the most effective dental products for your pet.

You should also be able to recognize the signs of poor oral health. If you notice any of the following you may want to contact your veterinarian:

  • Persistent bad breath – one of the first signs of dental disease
  • Tartar or plaque buildup (ask your veterinarian how to identify these)
  • A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth or gums are touched
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
  • Loose or missing teeth