We recommend having your pet’s teeth checked and cleaned at least
ONCE A YEAR.
Dental care is an important and often overlooked factor in keeping your pet healthy and happy. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by three years of age. Consistent home dental care and routine professional examinations can help prevent problems like bad breath or oral infections.
Quality dental care is necessary to provide optimum health and quality of life. If left untreated, diseases of the oral cavity are painful and can contribute to other local or systemic diseases. Just like us, pets can develop cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath. Routine cleaning can keep your pets breath smelling fresh and minimize the need for expensive extractions or root-canals.
We recommend a dental hygiene program similar to your own dentist. Pets should have their teeth brushed regularly, as well as annual dental prophylaxis appointments with our highly trained staff. During a dental prophylaxis appointment your pet well be anesthetized and receive an in-depth oral examination including measuring of all gingival pockets (which can be a sign of significant gingival disease that is not obvious on routine physical exam), and through inspection of the tongue, tonsils, gums, teeth, and hard and soft palates for evidence of growths or abnormalities.
SIGNS YOUR PET NEEDS DENTAL CARE
There are many different ways to check and see if your pet may be having dental issues, but there are also signs that may not be as visible. This is why veterinarians recommend having your pet’s teeth checked annually. Here are some things to keep an eye (or nose) out for:
Broken, loose, or missing teeth
Discoloration or tartar build up
Excessive chewing or drooling
Reduced appetite or inability to chew
Swelling and bleeding in or around the mouth
Common Pet Dental Care Questions
Once the pet’s health has been thoroughly assessed by the doctor’s exam and laboratory data (i.e., blood work), an IV catheter is placed. The IV catheter is important to deliver the safest forms of anesthesia as well as IV fluids that support blood pressure and remove toxins caused by bacteria from the blood stream. In most cases, only a light plane of general anesthesia is required. Once under general anesthesia, a complete exam of the mouth will be done, searching for pockets of bone loss, loose or broken teeth and tumors. The entire crown of each tooth is cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler instrument, and then a root-planing procedure is done to remove the bacteria and plaque under the gum line. When all the debris has been removed, the crown of each tooth receives both a polishing and a fluoride treatment.
Full mouth digital dental x-rays are performed on each patient and allow us to uncover hidden problems that may be causing your pet pain.
Dental radiology (i.e., dental x-rays) is an essential tool in both humans and pets to complete the dental assessment and generate an acceptable therapeutic plan. Because 50% of each tooth is below the gum line, it is not possible to examine the entire tooth using any other method. We recommend full mouth films for every pet, every dental procedure just like your dentist does for you. X-rays will uncover any hidden painful disease, such as root abscesses, root fractures, severe bone loss of the jaw and cystic lesions, so that they can be corrected during the procedure. Dental x-rays are especially imperative in pets due to their high tolerance of pain and inability to communicate it.