Did you know that 70% of cats and 85% of dogs have some form of dental disease as early as age 3?
Your pet's oral health is important to their overall well-being as dental problems can not only cause bad breath, but can also lead to more serious problems. Decreased appetite, difficulty chewing, weight loss and depression could be signs of oral disease. Poor dental health may result in periodontal (gum) disease which can lead to tooth loss and infection. Bacteria that collects in the pockets between the tooth and the gum line can enter the bloodstream and may cause liver, kidney or heart disease.
Good oral health begins with scheduling an appointment for an examination. Recommendations for your pet's individual needs can then be determined.
Basics of the Dental Procedure
For proper dental cleaning and treatment general anesthesia is required. This allows for a thorough oral exam, cleaning and polishing of all tooth surfaces, and other procedures that may be required. We understand that anesthesia can be a concern for most clients. We take several precautions to be sure that anesthetic risk in minimized.
Pre-anesthetic screening includes a physical exam, blood tests, and in some instances specialized testing to identify potential risk factors. This allows us to customize the anesthesia protocol for your pet's needs. Our trained veterinary technicians and assistants monitor heart rate, respiration and other parameters during the procedure.
IV catheters are placed prior to anesthesia to allow for easy administration of fluids and medications. For patients requiring more involved procedures, local anesthesia as well as other pain medication is administered for comfort.
Use caution when considering 'no-anesthesia' teeth cleaning services at pet stores or elsewhere. Although the teeth may look better in appearance, many problems may go undetected and in some cases more harm than good may be done. It is illegal for dental treatments to be performed by anyone other than a veterinary professional in the state of California.
The teeth are cleaned (including below the gum line) with an ultrasonic scaler and then polished.
Periodontal Evaluation/ Oral Radiography
The gums are inspected and problem areas are identified. Radiographs (x-rays) help to identify bone loss or tooth root disease that may not be readily apparent. Antibiotic therapy may be applied in areas where 'pockets' have developed.
Sometimes it may be necessary to extract badly diseased or damaged teeth. Ultimately, removing these teeth will result in a more comfortable patient and a healthier mouth.
Introducing your pet to regular brushing is the ideal way to prevent dental problems after a proper cleaning. There are many dental products available to suit every pet's needs including treats and special diets. We can help you in deciding what works best for you! For information regarding dental products: http://www.vohc.org/.