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Posted on 05-04-2017

Dental health is just as important for our pets as it is for people. Good dental health improves an animal's comfort and quality of life immensely. Plaque and calculus are large biofilms of bacteria that constantly challenge the immune system and if left untreated can lead to severe dental disease such as periodontitis and abscessed/diseased teeth. Daily brushing at home can help minimize plaque and tartar (be sure to use a doggie toothpaste). However, for adult dogs and cats a full dental treatment under anesthesia is necessary to keep their mouth healthy and clean which ultimately lets them live longer lives.  This involves a full evaluation, cleaning, probing, polishing and radiographs of the teeth while under anesthesia. Radiographs or X-rays of the teeth allow us to evaluate the health of the tooth below the gumline. 

Middletown Animal Hospital is the only veterinary clinic in Lake county who offers digital dental radiographs, just like in human dentistry.   Even relatively normal looking teeth can have major disease processes below the gumline. This patient is a perfect example. Her owner brushes her teeth regularly and she had very little visible tartar but x-rays reveal major bone loss of the two teeth to the right of the film and gingival recession. The tooth on the left of the film has a lucency (dark spot) around the root which indicates abscessation. All three of these teeth are diseased required extraction.

Each animal is an individual, therefore, some pets require annual dental treatments and others less frequently.  Ask Dr. Holtz, Dr. Smith, or Dr. Shackelton if your pet could benefit from a dental cleaning next time you come in.  

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