Similarly to how we need to have regular visits to the dentist, have radiographs taken of our teeth and potentially have fillings, extractions, etc. performed on us, pets experience similar disease processes of their teeth and need them tended to as well.
In fact, their teeth can often be at an even greater disadvantage due to the lack of compliance of owners brushing their pet’s teeth daily. Oral health is very important, and lack thereof can lead to an array of complications that extends body wide.
With this knowledge so engrained within us on the human side, I find it interesting that so many people balk at the idea of maintaining their pet’s oral health or the thought that their pet’s tooth (or teeth depending on the case) needs to be removed.
There is an overwhelming concern from owners that the pet is losing too many teeth and not enough of emphasis on the disease being removed as a result. Once a tooth becomes loose in its socket, and the disease process has begun there isn’t the opportunity to reverse the process and make the tooth healthy again.
In this instance, the tooth isn’t doing the pet any good, and it is in their best interest to have it removed, not to keep it in the mouth in hopes that it will be useful to the animal. Leaving a diseased tooth in the mouth causes bacteria from the mouth to enter the bloodstream and reach many different organs, slowly destroying them.
Also, due to the removal of infection from the mouth, their breath becomes less pungent. With decaying teeth removed from the mouth, the body is able to heal the site where the tooth is removed, and bacteria is no longer being shed into the blood stream. The pain associated with the infected tooth is gone, and the pet is happier and more comfortable.
With this in mind, it is important to know when teeth become diseased and need to come out. You can accomplish this with your pet by coming in for a dental assessment with one of our wonderful technicians. At this time, we can also discuss many different options that you have to help maintain oral health so that this disease process does not occur in the first place.
Written by Dr. Megan Haines, DVM