The health of your pet’s mouth isn’t always easy to discern. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule regular pet dental care at Animal Medical Center. Any Somerset veterinarian on our three-vet team can check your pet’s teeth, gum tissue, and oral cavity for problems, clean away potentially damaging tartar, and help you keep your pet’s mouth healthy between visits. We are proud to provide top-rated dental for dogs and cats for our community.
Pet dental health matters for a number of reasons. Most obviously, dental diseases can be excruciatingly painful for your beloved pet. Additionally, diseased gum tissue that becomes seriously inflamed (or even teeth that fall out) can drastically limit your pet’s ability to chew his food. This chewing trouble can cause him to avoid eating, or it may lead to digestive disturbances and nutrient absorption problems. Some dental issues can even lead to serious systemic infections, organ damage, or terminal conditions. You can’t afford to assume that your pet’s mouth is healthy. You need to have it examined regularly and deal with any problems as efficiently as possible.
Pets can suffer from many kinds of dental issues throughout their lives. Older pets in particular tend to experience the effects of periodontal disease. This chronic inflammation of the gum lining occurs when bacteria stick to tartar on the teeth, setting off an inflammatory reaction that destroys the gum tissues. Teeth can also become decayed, cracked, or broken, exposing the inner root structures to bacteria. Root infections can cause extreme pain and even spread to the bloodstream, moving to major organs such as the heart. Oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth, progressing quickly and possibly invading other parts of the body.
Your veterinarian, at our clinic in Somerset, can administer regularly-scheduled pet dental screenings. These exams allow us to catch oral cancers, periodontal disease, tooth damage, or infections as early as possible. Dental cleanings remove the tartar that attracts bacteria. We can also advise you on home-based oral maintenance routines to supplement these essential exams. If your pet has already developed a dental or oral problem, we can administer treatments ranging from tooth extraction and antibiotic therapy to oral cancer removal.
What is a COHAT?
COHAT, which stands for Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment, is an assessment of the whole mouth with an oral exam and dental radiographs to provide a full picture of your pet’s dental health above AND below the gumline.
Is a COHAT the same as a dental cleaning?
A COHAT is NOT the same as a dental cleaning! A general dental cleaning alone does very little for oral health. Teeth are like icebergs, you can only see a small portion above the gumline – like the tip of the iceberg. When performing a dental cleaning, the crowns of the teeth are cleaned without treating any conditions below the gum-line. That’s a large part of a tooth to go unchecked! Dental cleanings make the teeth cleaner and help the pet’s breath smell better temporarily.
A COHAT is completed by a veterinarian who uses dental radiographs to evaluate the teeth and bone below the gumline and finds problems that cleanings alone cannot. Its purpose is to find and treat dental problems before they get so severe that they cause problems for the jaw, sinuses, and important organs in the body. They can also help prevent periodontal disease, which is also a risk for liver and kidney disease to develop. Additionally, a COHAT can help prevent jaw fracture due to oral disease. With each COHAT, radiographs are required to check the integrity of the teeth below the gum line.
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