Pets need dental care too!!
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the age of 3, and it is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Common signs of oral disease can include bad breath, tartar buildup, red and swollen gums, changes in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and generalized depression. Many dogs and cats can have significant oral disease (abscessed or fractured teeth) without showing ANY outward signs of discomfort, even though oral disease is very painful for your pet.
Healthy teeth and gums are the cornerstones of your pet's overall wellbeing. There are other reasons why you should pay close attention to your pet's dental health. Dental disease can affect other organs in the body: bacteria in the mouth can get into the blood stream and may cause serious kidney infections, liver disease, lung disease, and heart valve disease. Oral disease can also indicate that another disease process is occurring elsewhere in a pet's body. A thorough physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if this is the case. The best way to prevent this is through regular dental care.
No other procedure performed on small animals is of more benefit to your pet than a dental cleaning. Prior to dental cleaning plaque and tartar form on teeth and under gums and bacteria collect and multiply. This creates a state of poor dental hygiene that causes foul odour in the mouth and is cause for concern. Eventually gum disease will develop.
Just as our own teeth require periodic dental cleaning and assessment, even more so do our pets. The procedure for cleaning your pet's teeth (called a dental prophy) is no different from that which we experience at our own dentist. The only complication is that our pets won't just sit still and say "Ahh"! A general anesthetic is required in order to safely scale, probe, assess and polish all surfaces of all of the teeth. We also take routine digital oral radiographs to ensure your pet's teeth are healthy above and below the gumline.
What happens when you bring your pet in for a dental procedure?
The morning of your pet's dental procedure, you will meet with a technician to discuss your pet and review and sign authorization forms. After meeting with one of our Registered Veterinary Technicians, your pet will be taken to our treatment area for an examination and for blood to be drawn for pre-anesthetic blood testing. After the Veterinarian reviews the results from the blood test, your pet will receive an injection of a sedative medication that will make them sleepy.
Once your pet is sedated, we place an IV catheter so they can receive fluids, pain medications, and antibiotics throughout the dental procedure. IV fluids help support blood pressure and kidney functions through the anesthesia. The IV catheter also allows us to deliver medications that put your pet into a deep sleep so that we can place an endotracheal tube. An endotracheal tube protects their airway while we are working in their mouth, gives them oxygen, and suplies the anesthetic gas that keeps them sleeping.
The teeth are cleaned using ultrasonic & hand scalers above and below the gum line.
We then examine each tooth in the mouth looking for fractures, lesions, pockets in the gingiva and any other potential problems.
We record all of our findings and use our digital dental x-ray machine to take radiographs of every tooth to look for underlying problems, just like at your dentist!
If we find a problem with a tooth that needs to be removed, we "freeze" the nerves, and start dental surgery by making a gingival flap, elevating, drilling and removing the tooth, we then suture the gingival flap closed.
Once all of the teeth are cleaned, and all radiographs and extractions are complete, we use a prophy paste to polish each tooth. Your pets mouth is then rinsed and the anesthetic gas is turned off and your pet wakes up with a cleaner and healthier mouth.