Regular dental care is important to maintaining your pet's teeth and protecting your pet's health. Dental disease is the most common disease affecting pets. By the age of three, the majority of dogs and cats are already suffering from dental disease.
Left untreated, dental disease causes pets to die an average of two years earlier than they could have lived with good dental care.
Not all dental care is created equal! Check out our Consumer's Guide to Dental Care if you are considering professional dentistry for your pet.
If you have a high-speed connection, please view our Dental AH&T slide show here. (It is a large file and will be painfully slow on dial up). You will need the Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer (free download available here if you don't already have PowerPoint or PowerPoint Viewer.)
Of course, we all know that broken or decayed teeth or infected gums are painful for your pet and can lead to feeding or behavior problems. But, many people don't realize that an unhealthy mouth can also lead to an unhealthy body, causing life-threatening infections. Gingivitis and periodontal disease (inflammation and infection of the gums) serves as a source of bacteria that can spread throughout the body causing potentially life threatening infections of the heart or kidneys. Nearly all adult pets who are not receiving regular professional dental cleanings will have some degree of periodontal disease.
How bad does an infected, abscessed or rotting tooth hurt? How painful is it to crunch down on hard food or with swollen, bleeding, tender gums? How sad does it feel when your favorite person in the world turns away in disgust when you try to give them a kiss? If our pets could talk, most of them could answer these questions because the vast majority of adult dogs and cats have serious, untreated dental disease.
Dental disease causes:
- bad breath
- tooth loss
- organ damage
- death when the bacteria from the infected mouth travel to vital organs.
Just like people, cats and dogs need routine dental cleanings and care to protect their teeth, gums and their overall health. In fact, dogs and cats accumulate tartar and calculus much faster than people do so dental disease in pets can progress surprisingly quickly. The AAHA Dental Care guidelines recommend annual professional dental exams and cleanings for all pets beginning at the age of two for large breed dogs and beginning at the age of one for small dogs and cats.
We realize that pet dental care is a new idea to many people and even many of our best clients don't yet understand just how important it is to take care of our pet's teeth and gums. We are committed to doing our part to change this! Our Dental Health FAQs Page and our Dental AH&T FAQs page offer answers to many of the most frequently asked questions about dental health and our professional dental services (the Dental Assessment, Hygiene & Treatment Visit).
An oral exam is part of every complete physical exam, so if your pet is due for an exam or vaccinations, come in and we will check your pet's oral health at that time. If your pet isn't due for other care right now, we do offer a no-charge dental exam at any time. During the dental exam, the veterinarian will let you know if your pet needs a comprehensive anaesthetized dental assessment, hygiene and treatment (AH&T) visit.
During a dental AH&T, your pet is safely anaesthetized while we perform a comprehensive oral examination, charting, cleaning and treat any decay or disease to give your pet a healthier, more comfortable mouth.
We will discuss a treatment plan with you, prepare an estimate and schedule needed services. Our nurses will also show you how to take care of your pet's teeth at home to keep them their best between professional cleanings.
Once your pet's teeth are clean, we will help you learn how to keep them clean at home. The first line of defense against plaque and tartar is regular brushing. Brushing is easy to do and we can teach you how during your next visit. We can help you learn how to brush your pet's teeth and find a home dental care program that works for you and your pet.
Keeping your pet's teeth healthy will give your pet a healthier, happier, longer life. As an added bonus, clean teeth give your pet sweet breath!
We are the first hospital in Morgantown to bring intra-oral x-ray to pets! Our state-of-the-art ImageVet afp intra-oral x-ray system, installed in February 2006, is pictured at right. Intra-oral Dental X-ray is an extremely valuable tool for diagnosing painful dental problems that hide under the gums, in the bones of the mouth and between the teeth.
National veterinary dental experts agree that intra-oral x-rays are mandatory to practicing safe, effective dental care and have issued guidelines mandating intra-oral x-rays for veterinary dentistry.
Have more questions??
On our Dental Health FAQs page, you will find answers to. . .
- How common is dental disease?
- Is dental disease painful?
- Can dental health affect my pet's behavior?
- This is all new to me! Why haven't I heard about pet dental care before?
- Now that veterinarians know how to provide good dental care, why aren't more pets getting it?
- At what age should dental care start?
- What do I need to do at home?
- Is there anything we should do for our puppy's (or kitten's) teeth?
- At what age does my pet need start annual Dental Assessment, Hygiene & Treatment visits?
- Does my pet need a Dental Assessment, Hygiene & Treatment visit?
- Is it ever too late for dental care?
On our Dental A,H&T FAQs page, you will find answers to. . .
- What on earth is a Dental A, H & T?
- Is the Dental Assessment, Hygiene & Treatment safe?
- How does an IV Catheter and IV fluids before & during dentistry make it safer?
- How does fluoride help?
- Why bother with intra-oral dental x-ray?
- Will my pet be in pain afterwards?
- Why must you anesthetize my pet? Can't you do it "awake"?
- Ouch! That's expensive!
You may also download a printer friendly Dental FAQs .pdf.