As devoted pet owners, we prioritize the overall well-being and maintenance of our furry companions. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is our pet's dental health. Just like humans, pets require proper dental care to ensure a happy and healthy life. Keeping up with your pet’s dental care will minimize the risk of more serious dental issues later on, while also reducing larger overall health problems associated with poor dental health.    

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for pets to prevent a myriad of dental issues that can impact their overall health. Poor dental health can lead to discomfort, pain, tooth loss, and even more severe health problems. Regular dental care can help prevent issues including:    

Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease: Just like in humans, the buildup of plaque and tartar can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease in pets, causing inflammation and increasing the risk of potential tooth loss.    

Tooth Decay and Fractures: Pets can also suffer from tooth decay and fractures, especially if they chew on hard objects or have a poor diet. Refined carbohydrates often found in highly processed dry kibble can stick to the teeth and increase plaque and tartar buildup.    

Bad Breath (Halitosis): We are all quite familiar with “doggy breath”. Persistent bad breath can be a sign of dental issues, indicating the presence of bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria can travel to other parts of the body causing more widespread health issues.    

Systemic Health Problems: Dental problems in pets can extend beyond the mouth, affecting organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys as bacteria from the mouth can spread to other bodily organs.    

At Longevity Veterinary Center we take pride in our skilled healthcare team and professional dental suite to prioritize pet dental wellness. We offer both dental cleanings with anesthesia for significant dental issues and non-anesthetic dental cleanings (NAD) for qualified pets.    

For dental cleanings with anesthesia, your pet is placed under general anesthesia to ensure they remain still during the procedure. A thorough examination of the oral cavity is conducted, including cleaning, scaling, and polishing of the teeth. Dental X-rays may also be taken to identify issues below the gum line. A full anesthetic dental cleaning is comprehensive, including hard-to-reach areas. However, there are always small risks associated with anesthesia, although modern techniques have significantly minimized these risks. Pets may take some time to recover from the effects of anesthesia and the pricing for a dental cleaning with anesthesia is considerably higher than a non-anesthetic dental cleaning.    

Non-Anesthetic Dental Cleanings or NADs are a good alternative for those with less complex dental issues and for pet owners concerned about anesthesia. Pets must be examined by one of our veterinarians prior to an NAD cleaning to ensure that there are not larger issues that may require a deeper cleaning. The NAD cleaning is typically performed using hand instruments and an ultrasonic scaler. Pets need to remain still during the procedure, which may require mild restraint. The benefits of NAD include the lack of anesthesia risk, a much faster recovery time (pets can resume their normal activities almost immediately after the cleaning), and a much lower procedure cost.    

Whatever options you choose for your pet, the important thing to keep in mind is to make dental health an important part of your pet’s wellness care. Regular dental check-ups, coupled with proper at-home dental care, can significantly contribute to the well-being and longevity of our beloved cats and dogs. Whether opting for dental cleanings with or without anesthesia, the key is to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable approach for your pet's unique needs. By prioritizing dental health, we can ensure our pets enjoy a long and healthy life, free from the discomfort of dental issues.