Dental Season by Dr. Chris Hamilton

Although less than was once felt some people still feel pets don’t need dental care or that they just don’t have the problems people do. This is not the case.

Dogs and cats develop almost all the same problems as people do. They will get plaque if the teeth are not cleaned. This can then mineralize to become tartar and continue to worsen over time. As this progresses the tartar will come into contact with the gums, the gingiva, where there can be bacterial overgrowth and lead to gingivitis. From here it can lead to bad breath, gum loss, bone loss, root exposure and loose teeth. If this progresses too far teeth will need to be removed. This process will often occur earlier and faster in small dogs with tooth crowding or other dogs with abnormal tooth distribution (dentition).   These problems are managed in people by the orthodontist.

Cats and dogs do not have flat premolars and molars with pits like us so cavities are not as big of an issue. Cats, though, do develop a cavity like problem along the gum margin if there is significant inflammation from dental disease. These have gone by many names and now we call it tooth resorption. These teeth are painful. These areas of resorption are not fillable like a cavity and an affected tooth will have to be removed.

There are some differences between people and pets but for the most part the progression of tooth disease is the same. Call us at Watertown’s Clappison Animal Hospital to book your no charge dental appointment with a technician until March 31st.