Dental health is a very important issue in our pets. They can get many of the same conditions that we can and as such have many of the same treatments available. Yes dogs can have braces.
The most common condition in pets is periodontitis, which is inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth.
How does that happen? Just like us, our pets have bacteria in their mouths and as they eat and salivate those bacteria break down food product and create plaque. This plaque mostly sits around the base of the tooth at the edge of the gum. After a while it will begin to harden and form tartar or calculus which is a very hard, rock like material. Because this material is foreign, the immune system will begin to set up a defence against it and cause inflammation. If left too long this inflammation can spread to the bone and cause osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone) and the bone can actually start to break down around the tooth. So much so, that the tooth will start to become wobbly. This is painful, and in very extreme cases the osteomyelitis can be so severe that the entire jaw bone can dissolve away around the tooth and cause the bone to fracture. Some dogs have been known to fracture their jaw just while eating their dinner!
Poor dental health can also cause damage to the heart and kidneys, hastening cardiac and renal failure, as bacteria from the inflamed mouth break off into the blood stream and settle in those organs.
So how can we prevent this from happening? Well just like us, it is important to brush their teeth or provide chews, and keep up regular dental hygiene appointments with your veterinarian. Once tartar develops it needs to be removed professionally. This is done at your veterinary clinic, under anaesthesia, using the same dental equipment that your dentist uses.
However there are a range of great ways to keep your pets' teeth clean, reduce plaque build up, and prevent tartar formation, in between your regular vet check ups:
-brushing them with a species appropriate toothbrush and paste (human toothpaste will make your pet sick)
-providing chew treats, such as Greenies, or Whimzees (we don't recommend bones as they often break their teeth on them)
-providing a biscuit designed to clean teeth, such as Hill's t/d or Royal Canin Dental
-providing chew toys (make sure the toy is not too hard that you cannot indent it with your fingernail)
All this should help you to keep your pet's teeth in tip top shape!
October 2020 is Dental Month with about $70 reduced price on basic scale and polish teeth under anaesthetic