Spotlight: VCA Neshaminy Animal Hospital

Prevention of periodontal disease

Periodontal disease prevention begins at the first visit, either for a puppy or kitten, as well as for a new adult patient.

Recommendations for young patients include the following:

  • A complete oral examination of baby teeth will assess any missing, unerupted, or slow-to-erupt teeth. The bite should also be evaluated to determine if there is abnormal jaw length or teeth that are contacting other teeth or soft tissue. In such cases, early extraction may be needed.
  • As permanent teeth start to erupt, it is critical to address any retained or persistent baby teeth. Removal of these can help prevent displacement of the erupting permanent teeth that can result in a malocclusion, or that can exacerbate periodontal disease due to crowding.
  • Home oral hygiene training can be started for clients whose pets have permanent teeth. Pets whose still have baby teeth could experience discomfort, so it is best to wait and avoid a negative experience.
  • The owner of any puppy or kitten who will be smaller than 20– 25 lbs. at maturity should know that the level of dental care and prevention for their pet is likely to be more involved than that of a larger dog. Shorter-nosed and flat-faced breeds also tend to have more dental issues due to the rotation and crowding of teeth.
  • A complete dental cleaning, polishing, and intraoral dental radiographs in the absence of obvious lesions is recommended by 1 year for cats and small-medium breed dogs, and by 2 years for larger-breed dogs. During the procedure, any other conditions can be identified and treated.
  • If periodontal disease with attachment loss is already present in the patient, a complete dental assessment and any necessary treatment will help address current disease and prevent further progression.

With most pets, appropriate and effective home oral hygiene can help maintain oral health in between dental therapy procedures.  Call VCA Neshaminy Animal Hospital at 215-355-1116 for all of your veterinary healthcare needs.

PHOTO CAP: Samson flashes his pearly whites!

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