Pet Dentistry — Dental Health is Crucial

The most important factor in maintaining optimum health for your pet is oral hygiene. Can you imagine what your mouth, breath, and teeth would be like if you never brushed them? Periodontal disease is present in 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over 2 years of age. Bacteria accumulate in the periodontal tissues. This manifests itself to the naked eye as swelling of the gum tissue, redness, and plaque formation on the teeth. Bacteria are constantly released into the blood stream affecting the liver, kidney, and heart. If it is not addressed promptly, it can lead to severe consequences for your pet.

In fact, we feel so strongly about this, that you are encouraged to get a risk free evaluation with one of our doctors. Here is how it works: you schedule the initial consultation with one of our doctors. If you end up doing the dental procedure at our hospital, we will credit you back the exam fee you paid for the initial consultation.

Non-Anesthetic Dentistry (NAD)

Some people will claim that pets do not need anesthesia to perform an effective dental cleaning. Do not be misled. Non-anesthetic dentistry is a cosmetic procedure only and does nothing to treat the underlying disease. Only a veterinarian is able to effectively examine your pet’s mouth, check for lesions or abnormalities, remove tartar and plaque, and treat the medical condition it presents. Hopefully, a good cleaning and polishing might be all that is required, especially if annual or bi-annual dental prophys are started early in your pet’s life.

To perform the dental cleaning your pet will be gently placed under anesthesia. This, of course prevents your pet from struggling during the oral evaluation. The doctor examines and probes each tooth individually, noting any changes in the periodontal pocket depth as well as looking for any cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. In addition, the doctor examines the entire oral cavity including the tonsils, soft and hard palate, tongue, cheeks, and vocal chords. This exam sometimes reveals abnormalities that can be easily handled during the treatment. We make sure that your pet is comfortable and safe during the entire procedure.

The doctor will make every attempt possible to contact you while your pet is under anesthesia, to discuss the findings and recommend a course of action. Digital Dental Radiographs will be taken in order to determine if the tooth root(s) is viable or infected.  It is possible that extractions may be necessary.

If that is the case, extractions are done in exactly the same manner as they would be for you or me. A local anesthetic block is administered which will last long after your pet awakens. The affected tooth or teeth are gently, but effectively extracted and follow up xrays are done to make sure all of the tooth root remnants have been removed.

Pain medications, as well as anti-inflammatories and antibiotics are usually given by injection and also prescribed for your pet on discharge. After the dental procedure has been completed and the anesthesia has worm off, your pet is usually back to their normal self within minutes.

This is a critical, but necessary medical health procedure for your pet.

Call us today to schedule your risk free evaluation!

How should I care for my pet’s teeth?

The best way to properly care for your pet’s oral hygiene is to brush their teeth daily. Just like us, our pets develop plaque on their teeth which, if not removed, can lead to oral health problems. In fact, tartar begins to form on the teeth within 24 hours of a professional dental cleaning, so doing something to keep this process from occurring is critical. There are bones and special treats that can help promote oral health, but the best way to clean your pet’s teeth is by brushing them

It may take some time for your dog or cat to get used to the idea of having their teeth brushed, but they can be eased into it. You can start by letting them taste the toothpaste from your finger.

There are special veterinary toothpastes made in flavors like chicken that appeal to animals. Once they get used to the toothpaste you can begin by brushing 1-2 teeth to introduce them to the sensation. After a few cleanings your pet will probably start to enjoy the brushing and will be happy to let you do it. Along with the special toothpaste a special toothbrush should be used with soft bristles and a long handle so you can reach the teeth in the back of your pet’s mouth. Some pet owners use their electric toothbrush with a designated replaceable head for their pet’s teeth. Sonicare brand works well for this because it is very effective and also very quiet!

Isn’t anesthesia risky for my pet?

Anesthetic risk is always present, but if proper pre-anesthetic testing and evaluation is done, the risk of anesthesia is very low (roughly 1 in 2,000). Everyone is concerned about anesthetic risk, especially the doctors and the para-professional staff. We use the latest in anesthetic monitoring equipment to insure your pet’s safety. In addition, a veterinary nurse is with your pet before, during, and after the anesthetic procedure to monitor for any possible complication. Remember, anesthesia is a health related risk, not an age related risk. We anesthetize elderly patients often, with minimal complications.