Westgate Pet & Bird Hospital

4534 Westgate Blvd #100
Austin, TX 78745



Dental Health - Prolong your pet's life by taking care of his/her teeth

Did you know that an estimated 85% of dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease? Affected pets experience pain and bad breath. Chronic infections of the teeth and gums can cause problems elsewhere in the body. Bacteria enter the bloodstream from infected teeth and cause infection in organs such as the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. Good dental care lengthens a pet's life an average of 10-20% through the prevention of these secondary problems.Plaque is the white or gray soft material that is seen on the tooth near the gum line and it is what we brush off of our own teeth every day. Plaque is composed of food and organic material and bacteria. With time, plaque hardens (mineralizes) and adheres to the tooth and is known as tartar (calculus). Plaque and tartar build up on the teeth and below the gum line which causes infection and inflammation in the gums (gingivitis) and surrounding tissues/structures of the teeth (periodontal disease). 

Animals may have signs of oral/dental disease such as halitosis (bad breath), drooling, pawing at the face or mouth, swelling of the face, gum recession, gum swelling, loose teeth, listlessness, reluctance to eat even though they are hungry, and dropping food.

The Progression/Stages of Dental Disease

This is an example of a healthy tooth This is an example of Grade 1 dental disease.  Early gingivitis (inflammation of gums) is present and there is mild staining of the teeth.
This is an example of Grade 2 dental disease.  Inflammaton is more evident and the gums are receding slightly. This is an example of Grade 3 dental disease.  Significant inflammation and infection are present and pockets are forming around the tooth. 
This is an example of Grade 4 dental disease.  Severe inflammation, infection and gum recession are evident.  Teeth may be loose due to destruction of bone. Dental Radiographs assist us in diagnosing dental problems and determining the best treatment for your pet.

If your pet has been diagnosed with dental disease your veterinarian will likely recommend a thorough teeth cleaning.  Depending on the grade of dental disease your pet may also need to have treatment for infection and extractions may be necessary.  Sedation and anesthesia are essential for an adequate evaluation. Anesthesia allows the veterinarian or assistant to thoroughly examine and clean each tooth individually. Modern veterinary medicine offers a wide array of safe and effective anesthetics and monitoring equipment that allay previous concerns of anesthesia.

Once the teeth are thoroughly cleaned and any existing infection treated the veterinarian will prescribe an ongoing home care plan to keep your pet's teeth and gums healthy.  A variety of options are available from brushing and dental diets to special rinses formulated especially for pets.

At Westgate Pet & Bird Hospital our goal is to help you enjoy many years with a happy, healthy pet.  Proper dental care is an integral part of achieving this goal.  Our hospital team is here to help you and answer your questions about your pet's dental health.