Can you imagine never brushing your teeth? Most dogs and cats have never had their teeth brushed. Since many health problems start in the mouth, 50% of all dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. For pets over the age of three, that number jumps to 75%. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause pain, infections, tooth compromise, and adjacent bone loss over time. It can also lead to microscopic changes in the heart, liver and kidneys causing serious health problems for your pet.
Dental health care is the single most important procedure to add quality and longevity to your pet’s life. At your pets' annual visit, we will spend time talking about what you can do to keep your pet's mouth healthy. If dental disease is found, we will let you know what can be done to fix the problem.
Professional dental prophylaxis and treatment is important to maintaining your pet's health at any age. Dental treatments must be performed under general anesthesia in order to properly examine and clean the teeth. Our highly trained veterinary technicians will obtain radiographs with our state-of-the-art dental radiology suite. This allows us to radiograph (x-ray) your pet's teeth to identify and treat underlying disease. Each tooth is then thoroughly cleaned above and below the gum line with ultrasonic (piezo) and manual scaling, then polished to create a smooth, lustrous surface that is more resistant to plaque buildup.
After cleaning and polishing are performed, our veterinarian will review all of the radiographs and perform a thorough oral exam to assess for any signs of dental disease such as oral tumors, gum recession, root exposure, pockets around the root, and tooth fractures. If extensive dental disease is found, extractions (tooth removal) may be warranted. Occasionally, multi-rooted teeth may need to be extracted, requiring oral surgery to safely remove each individual root. Our doctor has extensive training and experience to perform these procedures properly. To aid in pain relief, local nerve blocks are performed and additional injectable pain medications are administered if extractions are required. Depending on the severity of your pet’s dental disease, your pet may be sent home with oral pain medication. Additionally, most patients are sent home with a prophylactic antibiotic course due to the "bacterial shower" that can occur during a dental cleaning and to treat any infected tissues within the oral cavity. Although surprising to most pet owners, pets recover rather quickly from dental procedures and once completely recovered from anesthesia, they tend to resume eating their regular dry kibble even when multiple teeth have been extracted.
Following dental cleanings, many owners want to help prevent further dental disease, therefore we offer a variety of dental products such as special dental diets, pet toothpaste, brushes, dental rinse aids, dental chews, food additives, and treats. If you would like further information on stopping or preventing dental disease for your pet, please ask any of our staff members.