Pet Dental Care

Dental Before and After

At Suncook River Veterinary Clinic, we understand that your pet's dental health is extremely important to his or her quality of life. There are clear indications that oral health status has a profound effect on your pet's attitude and general health.

It's estimated that more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop tooth and gum disease by the age of three. The most common dental condition affecting dogs and cats is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection and inflammation of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth. The disease is caused by bacteria present in plaque and tartar. Periodontal disease begins when plaque and tartar build up on your pet's teeth, especially below the gumline. Bad breath is often the first noticeable symptom of the disease. Bleeding, inflammation and receding gums, pain and difficulty chewing, loosening and the eventual loss of teeth are characteristic symptoms of the disease.

Periodontal disease is classified under two categories: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the milder form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue resulting in redness, swelling and discomfort. With effective and timely teeth cleaning, gingivitis can be completely reversed. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis or severe inflammation around the tooth root, which in turn can lead to tooth loss.

Periodontitis is most often seen in pets who are over five years old. Most animals with periodontitis have bad breath, tooth mobility and bleeding gums. Severe inflammation of the gums, gum recession, alveolar bone loss (the bone that supports the tooth is "eaten away"), and pustular discharge are common signs of periodontitis. Dental problems, if left untreated, can often lead to larger systemic problems in your pet. Oral bacteria, associated with periodontitis, can be released into the bloodstream causing life-threatening damage to the kidneys, heart and liver.

When your pet has healthy teeth, however, he or she feels great. Each time we examine your pet, a complete dental check-up is performed. If tartar or dental plaque is found, we have the finest equipment for cleaning your pet's teeth. Periodontal disease prevention typically includes ultrasound scaling, subgingival manual scaling, and polishing.

We may recommend an oral hygiene program that includes in-hospital teeth cleaning followed by an oral home care treatment. The veterinarians and the entire staff at Suncook River Veterinary Clinic work very hard to make sure your pet's teeth are always the best they can be.

Dental CleaningDental Cleaning

Suncook River Veterinary Clinic offers a full range of dental services that start with a thorough exam and cleaning.

Unlike many other veterinary hospitals, our routine dental prophylaxis includes sub-gingival cleaning and ultrasonic scaling while your pet is under anesthesia. This means we are able to remove plaque and tartar that accumulates below the gum-line, which is the primary cause of periodontitis as well as tooth and/or bone loss.

We also polish the teeth and apply sealer so that your pet does not emerge from the procedure with rough surfaces on their teeth, which are far more susceptible to accumulating plaque. We can also insert slow-release antibiotics below the gum line to quickly and easily resolve severe gum and bone infections.

Suncook River Veterinary Clinic is also well equipped to diagnose tooth and bone loss, which can be very difficult to identify through a routine visual inspection. We are one of the very few veterinary practices to offer computer-enhanced digital dental X-rays. In fact, our equipment is more advanced than that of many dentists. What this means for you and your pet is that we are able to identify and diagnose these signs of periodontal disease quickly and completely so that it may be treated during your pet's prophylactic procedure.

The dental services we provide include:

Home Dental Care

Dental care does not end with a visit with us. You need to continue your veterinarian's good work at home. Brushing your pet's teeth is an important part of home dental care. Subsequent to your pet's dental procedure, a technician will instruct you in the proper method of brushing your pet's teeth and give you a complimentary dental "goodie bag" with toothpaste and dental chews.

We also will help you learn to identify the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, which include: