Educational Articles

Dental

  • Periodontal disease is the most common problem affecting cats of all age groups. The importance of daily dental home care cannot be overemphasized. Nutrition can contribute to preventing periodontal disease and gingivitis.

  • Chinchillas are generally hardy animals but are susceptible to several unique health conditions; understanding them will help you care for your pet and manage potential health problems. This handout describes the most common conditions seen in pet chinchillas.

  • In veterinary dentistry tooth repair or restoration that fully covers the tooth is called a crown. Crowns are used after root canal therapy, when enamel is not present due to wear or congenital disease, causing part of the enamel not to form. An impression is made of the tooth requiring the crown, along with the surrounding upper and lower teeth. A crown is then made at a human dental lab. Crowns are most often metallic, composed of titanium, chromium, and stainless steel. Under normal wear, and with special care, the crown should last for your dog’s lifetime.

  • Dental disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition in which the tissues supporting the teeth become inflamed. When a pet develops dental disease, significant quantities of bacteria reside within the mouth and the oral tissues. These bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to other areas, specifically the heart, liver, and kidneys, causing distant or systemic effects. The bacteria that are found within the mouth of pets with dental disease are the same bacteria associated with both endocarditis and valvular disease in dogs and cats.

  • Rabbits have incisors plus molars in the back of the mouth for grinding and chewing. Rabbits also have two small, tube-shaped incisors (peg teeth) behind the large upper incisors. Since the teeth continuously grow, the upper teeth must meet the lower teeth to allow for proper wearing of tooth surfaces, preventing overgrowth. All teeth must meet and wear at the same rate as they are growing, or malocclusion with resultant improper tooth wear, and overgrowth of the incisors and/or molars, can occur. Overgrown teeth can cause many problems. leading to pain and infection. Rabbits with chronic dental problems need regular veterinary care including repeated dental filings. Feeding rabbits a diet of mainly high-fiber hay to promote chewing and teeth wear may help reduce the development of dental problems.

  • According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, over 70% of cats have signs of dental disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. Dental pain in cats may take on a wide variety of appearances, but in many cases a cat may not show any outward signs of pain. Sometimes cats may exhibit signs such as decreased interest in eating dry food or hard treats, chewing more slowly than usual, dropping food while chewing, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, new or worsening resistance to having the face or mouth touched. The only effective treatment for dental pain is to address the cat’s underlying dental disease. The best way to prevent dental pain is to ensure that your cat receives regular dental care through a home dental care plan and regular veterinary dental care.

  • According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, over 80% of dogs have signs of dental disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. Dental pain in dogs may take on a wide variety of appearances, but in many cases a dog may not show any outward signs of pain. Sometimes dogs may exhibit signs such as decreased interest in eating dry food or hard treats, chewing more slowly than usual, dropping food while chewing, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, new or worsening resistance to having the face or mouth touched. The only effective treatment for dental pain is to address the dog’s underlying dental disease. The best way to prevent dental pain is to ensure that your dog receives regular dental care through a home dental care plan and regular veterinary dental care.

  • Alveolar osteitis, also called expansile osteitis, is a relatively common condition that results from chronic periodontal disease in cats. It is painful and can interfere with grooming and eating. If this disorder is detected early, it may be possible to treat the disease without tooth extraction by performing thorough periodontal therapy (dental cleaning and scaling).

  • Fractured teeth in cats can result from fights, car accidents, and chewing on hard objects. There are five classifications of tooth fractures and each needs treatment to avoid tooth sensitivity and pain. Because cats have thin enamel, even a small chip fracture can cause pain and needs veterinary care. Clinical signs include chewing on one side of the mouth, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, and facial swelling.

  • Dogs often break their teeth from chewing on bones, antlers, and hard chew toys. There are five classifications of tooth fractures ranging from enamel fractures to tooth root fractures. Clinical signs can include chewing on one side of the mouth, excessive drooling, dropping food while eating, pawing at the mouth, and facial swelling. A broken tooth needs attention to prevent infection and pain. Your veterinarian may perform root canal or extract the tooth. Eliminating hard chew toys and treats can prevent tooth fractures.