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Dental Care

It is just as important for animals to take care of their teeth as it is for humans. Much like us, dental problems in animals can lead to other issues with their overall health. While humans often have to worry about cavities, most animals face other issues such as broken teeth, periodontal disease, infected teeth, and more. In fact, 70-85% of pets over the age of 2 have some form of dental disease, making it the most common disease in animals.

Pets should have a dental appointment at least once a year. Dental exams are needed to identify and treat problems early on. Preventative dentistry, such as regular checkups and maintenance, is the best way to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

How do I know my pet has dental health issues?

Most pets only need an annual oral exam; however, it is strongly advised that you bring them in sooner if you notice any of the following:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Tartar build up
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Swelling around the mouth
  • Abnormal eating habits
  • Unusual chewing or drooling
  • Reduced appetite
  • Irritability and behavioral changes

Dr. Lauren Heit is a skilled veterinarian in Anaheim who can take care of all of your pet’s dental care needs. His work in veterinary dentistry includes all aspects of oral care for animals.

What is causing my pet’s dental problems?

If you notice that your pet is experiencing any of the symptoms above, there may be an underlying problem that must be treated. Common problems that cause dental problems in pets include:

  • Periodontal disease
  • Abscesses or infected teeth
  • Cysts or tumors
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Palatal defects
  • Damaged teeth and roots

Of all these ailments, periodontal disease is the most common, especially for dogs and cats. Periodontal disease is a severe form of gum disease that causes the gums to become loose from the teeth. This allows debris and tartar to build below the gumline and it can eventually lead to decay, infection, loose teeth, and damaged jaw bones. When left untreated, periodontal disease can even affect the kidney, liver, heart.

How can I prevent periodontal disease in my pet?

Pet owners can prevent periodontal disease in their pets by maintaining a regular dental care routine. Brush your pet’s teeth as often as possible to remove built-up plaque. Optimally, you would brush daily, but it’s understandable if you’re pet is a fussy brusher. Brushing 2-3 times a week is better than nothing! There are also pet-friendly fluoride products that you can use to remineralize your pet’s enamel. Just make sure to check with your vet first!

There are also dental chews that can keep your pet’s mouth clean and fresh. Provide water for your pet, so they can stay hydrated and flush away food particles from their mouth after eating, too. For pets who are at risk of gum disease, it can be helpful to put them on a special diet with food that doesn’t get stuck in the teeth and is high in calcium. Consult the veterinarian about what foods would be best for your pet.

Last but not least, regular checkups are key to maintaining your pet’s dental health. The veterinarian can detect problems before they progress. They can also provide nutrition counseling and guide you on how to take care of your pet’s teeth.

What happens during an oral exam?

Our Anaheim Veterinarian begins with an oral exam and x-rays if they are deemed necessary to evaluate, teeth, jaws, and root health. Since most dental diseases occur below the gumline, the veterinarian needs to conduct a thorough exam with X-rays.

After the examination, Dr. Lauren Heit will continue the process with a thorough cleaning, which includes brushing, removal of plaque and tartar, and polishing. This process removes plaque and calcium buildup that can lead to cavities and gum disease.

For any of your pet’s health needs, Brookhurst Animal Medical Center in Anaheim is your primary choice for pet care. Dr. Lauren Heit is a leading veterinarian in Anaheim who can perform thorough dental cleanings to ensure that your pets live long and happy lives.