Teeth cleaning and dental services

Why does my dog or cat’s breath smell bad?

The most common cause of bad breath (halitosis) in cats and dogs is a disease called periodontal disease. Simply put, there is an infection inside your pet’s mouth that can have significant consequences to their health and quality of life at home.

Call us at (808) 453-500 now to book an appointment to get started. Otherwise continue reading to learn how periodontal disease affects our pets’ smiles and beyond.

So what exactly is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation and bacterial infection that occurs not on the teeth themselves, but rather supporting structure of the teeth such as bone and soft tissue. It is staged from 1 – 4 based on the extent of bone loss supporting each tooth.

How common is periodontal disease?

Unfortunately, periodontal disease is one of the most commonly noted disease in veterinary medicine. Based on the recent study, it is reported that at least 80% of dogs and 70% of cats that are over age 3 have some form of periodontal disease in their mouth!

What causes periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a complex disease caused by a combination of various factors such as breed, diet, ability to brush teeth at home, and so on. Toy/small breeds dogs (i.e Chihuahua, Miniature Poodles, Pomeranians, etc) are more prone to develop severe periodontal diseases than larger breed dogs due to crouding of the teeth.

How is periodontal disease diagnosed?

Everytime you bring your pet for an examination, our veterinarian at Aina Haina Veterinary Clinic will evaluate their mouth to look for evidence of periodontal disease such as bleeding/red gum (gingivitis), plaque and tartar (Calculi) buildup, and odor (halitosis). When these physical exam abnormalities are noted, we SUSPECT that the patient has periodontal disease. In order to truly diagnose periodontal disease, your pet must be examined under general anesthesia, and dental X-ray needs to be taken to assess the extent of bone loss.

How is periodontal disease treated?

Treatment depends on the stages of the disease. The milder cases (Stage 1 and 2) are treated by professional cleaning both above and below the gumline as well as polishing. Oftentimes when the disease is more severe (Stage 3 and 4), surgical extraction of the diseased teeth will often be recommended. Diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease most commonly happen on the same day, under one general anesthesia episode.

How often does my pet need dental cleaning?

The frequency of dental cleaning will depend on each pet, but our veterinarian typically recommends professional dental cleaning under general anesthesia every 1 to 2 years to treat the disease while they are on the mild stages and avoid extractions of the teeth.

How do we prevent periodontal disease?

Even after your pet’s professional dental cleaning and extractions. As long as there are teeth inside your pet’s mouth, periodontal disease can come back without daily plaque control. Frequent (ideally, daily) tooth brushing with pe-specific enzymatic toothpaste is the key to help prevent periodontal disease. Special foods and treats are also available to help control tartar buildup. Our veterinarians can recommend specific products most fit to your pet’s needs.

What about non-anesthetic dental cleaning?

Although some offer scaling and polishing of pets’ teeth WITHOUT the usage of general anesthesia, we do NOT believe they are appropriate because of patient stress, injury, risk of aspiration, and lack of diagnostic capabilities. Without dental X-ray we cannot accurately diagnose periodontal disease, and without accurate assessment, appropriate treatment cannot be performed. Just removing plaque and tartar only cleans the visible surface of the teeth, and unfortunately provides the pet owner with a false sense of benefit to their pet’s oral health.

Ready to keep your pets smile clean and infection-free? Call us at (808) 453-500 now to book an appointment to get started.