How common is dental disease?
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some degree of oral disease by the age of three. We understand the special role your pet plays in your family and we are dedicated to improving your pet’s quality of life by diagnosing and treating animal oral diseases. By diagnosing, treating and preventing disease, relieving discomfort and pain, and promoting rapid healing and recovery, our patients lead healthier, happier, and longer lives.
Most dental disease can be prevented.
Most severe dental disease can be prevented with regular home dental care. Regularly handling the mouth early in a puppy’s or kitten’s life will make dental care easier throughout her life. However, when starting as an adult, many pets need an introduction to mouth handling and brushing, before accepting this new routine. The video below illustrates some “how-to’s” for your dog’s dental care. Cornell University’s cat video outlines a gradual process to help you and your cat achieve success. It will be well worth the effort for both of you, saving your dog or cat from the pain of dental problems (Is there a worse pain than tooth pain!?) and making dental care much easier on your wallet. Click here for Cornell’s recommended video on home dental care for your cats.
What can happen without proper dental care?
Both plaque and tartar damage the teeth and gums. Disease starts with the gums (gingivitis). They become inflamed – red, swollen, and sore. The gums finally separate from the teeth, creating pockets where more bacteria, plaque, and tartar build up. This in turn causes more damage, and the end result is tooth and irreversible bone loss (periodontitis).
Dental disease can effect the whole body.
Bacteria from these inflamed oral tissues can enter the bloodstream and affect several major body organs. The liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs are most commonly affected. Dental disease is potentially much more serious than stinky breath for you and a painful mouth for your pet.
Is anesthesia really necessary?
Our dental procedures are performed while the patients are under general anesthesia. Scaling tartar on an awake animal, without polishing the teeth, leaves a rough surface which predisposes the tooth to quickly accumulate more plaque and tartar.
What is the risk of anesthesia?
We know that anesthesia is a concern for pet owners. However, the risk of serious complications from untreated dental disease, as discussed above, significantly outweighs the risk of anesthesia. In addition, we pay special attention to our anesthetic protocol, and customize anesthesia to the individual needs of your pet. Following an initial physical examination, the appropriate pre-anesthetic medications are selected. These include drugs for sedation as well as pain control. Giving pain medication before, during and after dental procedures has been shown decrease the amount of general anesthesia needed and speed recovery.
Our monitoring procedures make the anesthesia very safe.
Each patient has an intravenous catheter to allow for IV fluids, which help maintain safe blood pressure levels. In addition, the catheter provides immediate IV access for any drugs that are needed during the dental procedure. We know the clipped areas on the legs look a little weird for a while, but it is MUCH safer for your pet. While they are maintained on gas anesthesia, numerous vital parameters are carefully monitored. Blood pressure, ECG, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, blood carbon dioxide levels along with respiratory rate and body temperature are continuously monitored throughout anesthesia. Core body temperature is maintained with a snuggly warm air mattress.
How is the actual dental procedure done?
Following anesthetic induction, the oral cavity is carefully evaluated. Calculated guesses can be made on the exam table, however, dental disease cannot be fully realized until the pet is evaluated under anesthesia. The plaque and tartar are then removed with an ultrasonic scaler (just like your dental hygienist uses on you) and the teeth polished with a motorized polisher. If additional dental disease is suspected, dental radiographs are taken. Dental radiographs are used to view the dental tissues and supporting structures of the teeth and without them, serious dental problems can be missed. Should extractions be indicated, our state of the art dental stations have high and low speed hand-pieces which make any dental procedure much safer for your pet.
Keeping your pet’s teeth and gums healthy means better overall health.
We can recommend and demonstrate preventative measures for your cat or dog that you can begin at home.