Your pet’s dental health is just as important to their wellbeing as your dental health is to your overall health. Imagine if you had a toothache but couldn’t communicate that you needed help. Now imagine what your teeth would look like if you never brushed them! Your gums would soon become inflamed and painful, and your teeth would develop tartar and cavities.
Being in pain is stressful, but our pets do their best to hide that pain and function in spite of it. Pets with dental disease still try to eat the best they can, because they are hungry! As pet owners, we owe it to our pets to provide prevention and treatment of dental disease.
Dr. Elizabeth Brine is AERC’s board-certified veterinary dentist. She has advanced training and specialist certification in dentistry. She recalls the story of a dog whose outward behavior became aggressive due to dental pain. The dog’s owner insisted her twelve-year-old dog needed to be looked at for a dental problem. Five months earlier, the dog had a dental cleaning at the family veterinarian, but not dental x-rays. The issue wasn’t resolved, and the dog was now fighting other dogs in the house. Dr. Brine’s examination and all the blood work seemed to be normal. Dr. Brine x-rayed the dog’s mouth and the problem was found. She discovered wide swellings around the tooth roots of both lower first molars. It was a hidden and painful problem that wouldn’t have been discovered if the owner hadn’t insisted upon seeing a veterinary dentist.
This story is one of many that serve as a reminder that our pets may not need a “Hollywood” smile, but they deserve a healthy, pain-free mouth. There are several options available to save teeth or to remove diseased ones and concentrate on the healthy teeth that remain. All you have to do is take a look! Talk to your family veterinarian about your pet’s oral health! If advanced treatment is needed, AERC can help