Don't turn your nose to Sparky's bad breath!
We all have our pet's best interest at heart and want to make the best choice for their care. Your pet's teeth and gums should be checked during their yearly wellness exam to help detect early signs of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in cats and dogs.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease or gum disease is a common bacterial infection that damages the gum tissue and bone supporting the tooth. Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis, or inflammation of the gum tissue, which is caused by plaque. Over time, the plaque hardens and becomes calculus. The calculus creates a rough surface for more plaque to adhere to and pushes the gums away from the teeth. Eventually, the crown and root of the tooth are destroyed, and the tooth becomes loose. This is why early detection and treatment for periodontal disease are so important. It can prevent advanced stages of periodontal disease that causes severe problems and pain in your pet. This disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth; it can also cause health problems such as kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.
Our pets can have the same dental problems that we can develop:
broken teeth and roots
abscesses or infected teeth
cysts or tumors in the mouth
malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
palate defects (such as cleft palate)
Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
Although we recommend yearly oral examinations, we do recommend having your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:
teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
gum recession or red gums
bleeding from the mouth, nose or gums
loose or missing teeth
broken or loose teeth
swelling around the mouth or cheek area
extra teeth or retained baby teeth
decreased appetite or refusal to eat
pain in or around the mouth
As humans, we understand the importance of dental health. We can easily communicate where we're experiencing oral pain. Our pets are unable to tell us where they're hurting. Nor do they understand the importance of dental health. This is why general anesthesia is important for a thorough oral examination and dental procedure.
Why does dentistry require anesthesia?
Our pets do not understand the reason for having a dental procedure. They tend to react by moving, trying to escape, and in most cases, biting. Anesthesia makes it possible to perform a thorough oral exam and dental procedure without stressing and causing pain to your pet. Anesthesia also allows for better cleaning without your pet moving around and risking injuring themselves.
For many owners, anesthesia is a frightening thought. We can now say that anesthetic risks are at its all-time low. Anesthesia is safer now than it was in the past and continues to improve. Age and medical conditions are no longer reasons to rule out procedures requiring anesthesia. If your pet has a medical condition, they may need pre-operative treatment before the procedure. While anesthetized, your pet is monitored by a trained dental assistant. And they're connected to a machine that will monitor all of their vital signs. After the dental procedure, many pets can go home the same day. They may seem a little groggy for the rest of the day and return to normal within 24 hours. We recommend keeping them in a comfortable and quiet room for recovery.
What can you expect from a professional dental cleaning?
Our team will thoroughly educate you and answer any of your questions about your pet's dental health.
Our veterinarians will perform a thorough physical exam and oral exam of your pet's mouth. The examination will give us a general idea of your pet's dental health.
A small blood panel will be collected from your pet to identify any potential internal problems that we need to be aware of.
If your pet checks out healthy from their physical exam and bloodwork, our doctors and technicians will create an anesthetic protocol for your pet. An anesthetic protocol is created for each patient to ensure a safe procedure and experience for your pet.
What happens during a dental cleaning?
Once your pet is anesthetized, a more thorough oral exam is done along with dental radiographs. Radiographs will identify any problems beneath the gum-line, such as broken teeth and roots, periodontal disease, dead teeth, abscess or infected teeth.
A thorough scaling will be done to remove plaque, calculus, and bacteria around the gum line that causes bad breath.
Lastly, the teeth are polished, leaving the surface of the teeth polished and smooth.
Once the procedure is completed, your pet is removed from anesthesia and recovered on oxygen. Your pet will continue to be monitored until they are fully awake.
Your pet will be able to go home the same day and your case manager will go over "After dental care" information with you. They will also answer any questions you may have and go over any medications and special feeding instructions if any teeth were extracted.
Here are some preventable tips:
Routine oral health care exam
Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be less tolerant.
There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. After your pet's dental cleaning, we will discuss the best over the counter dental products and treats to start your pet on.
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