Is Your Pet At Risk of Dental Disease?

Dental disease in our pets is a HUGE deal. Periodontal (gum) disease is the number one diagnosed problem in dogs and cats. By the age of just two, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease. In addition, 10% of dogs have a broken tooth with nerve or root canal exposure causing extreme pain until the nerve dies, at which point the tooth becomes infected! Infectious oral diseases affecting the gums and root canals create bacteria in the blood stream, which can infect other parts of the body. Dental inflammation and infection have been linked to numerous problems in both dogs and cats, including heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, liver disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

Oral disease can also cause inflammation of the eye, resulting in blindness. It can cause jaw bone loss from chronic infection leading to jaw fractures that can take a very long time to heal. Infectious oral disease can also result in areas of dead, infected bone, nasal infections and can cause an increased risk of oral cancer.

Other oral problems include bacterial cavities, painful orthodontic problems, dead teeth (which are commonly discolored), and worn teeth. Almost every pet has some form of painful or infectious oral disease that needs treatment

That's why we examine your pet’s mouth thoroughly when you are here for your annual checkup. In cats, a very common problem is feline tooth resorption lesions, which are caused by normal cells called odontoclasts eating away at the cat's own teeth. Approximately half of cats over 6 years of age have at least one. They are similar to cavities in that once they are advanced, they are VERY painful and can become infected. They are first seen as small red areas along the gum line.