The Tooth Hurts: Does your pet have dental disease?

  • Published
  • By Capt. Christina Elder, DVM
  • Offutt AFB Veterinary Clinic

We celebrate pet dental health month in February. Have you looked in your pet’s mouth recently? Is there tan, brown or thick white buildup on the teeth? Do the gums appear red and inflamed? Is there a bad odor coming from their mouth? All of these are signs of dental disease, which can lead to discomfort while eating and is a painful condition if left untreated. Just like in people, the gold standard is to brush your pet’s teeth to keep them healthy. Depending on your pet, though, this may not be possible (hello, cats!). You can also try things like dental greenies or soft rawhides to delay the tartar buildup in the mouth. If your pet’s mouth has enough buildup, though, it’s time for a full dental cleaning since the preventative measures don’t always cut it.

A dental cleaning is a procedure we do here at the vet clinic where we scale, polish, and possibly extract teeth depending on how diseased a tooth is. This is done under full anesthesia, but don’t worry! We always run bloodwork prior to the dental cleaning to ensure your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia, and we will tailor your pet’s anesthesia plan specifically for them to make it as safe as possible. Our clinic is also equipped with full monitoring equipment to monitor vital signs and address any flags that occur during any procedure.

We hear many clients say how different their pet is after having a dental cleaning. They have much more energy and appear more comfortable. Think about it - when you have a toothache, it can be pretty miserable! Unfortunately, many of our pets endure much worse, and they cannot tell us if they’re in pain. Please consider having your pet’s teeth cleaned to keep them happier and healthier for longer! Your pet will thank you for it.

Capt. Christina Elder is an Army veterinarian working for the Offutt AFB Veterinary Treatment Facility. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article, or if you would like to schedule an appointment or dental cleaning for your pet, please call the clinic at 402-294-6141. The clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. for lunch). Appointments are available for any active duty or retired military personnel.

We hope to see you and your furry friend soon!