We would like to share some information with you about the veterinary dentist, so you can understand why dental care is crucial to the health of your pets and well-being.
The first step is the pet’s overall health and oral health checkup which is a physical exam. With an oral exam during the physical check, we can get an idea of the level of plaque build-up, gingivitis, and staining. However, we only get a limited amount of information that we can gain from an oral exam.
We want to see pets for their first dental under anesthesia, before the pet has bad breath or loose teeth, as at this stage significant damage has already occurred. We never schedule a dental procedure without a physical exam first to ensure there are no Allergic reactions to anesthesia or the procedure.
We recommend full gas anesthesia and anesthetic monitoring. These things help to ensure the safety of the pet under anesthesia to the best of our ability. Gas anesthesia with an endotracheal tube is firm. It allows for the complete examination of the oral cavity and enables to scale appropriately below the gumline without the pet feeling any pain or discomfort. The gas anesthesia ensures that the pet is fully oxygenated thereby protecting the pet’s airway so that they do not inhale any bacteria into their lungs during the procedure. It is not possible to do a complete dental cleaning that can remove the bacteria beneath the gum line without the pet is fully anesthetized. After the teeth are deeply cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler, the teeth are then polished.
We recommend a full set of oral radiographs with every dental procedure. This is the only way to completely evaluate the extent of disease/infection in the oral cavity. Just because the crown of the tooth is white, and the tooth is immobile does not mean that there isn’t any damage beneath the gumline. Radiographs can reveal bone loss and tooth resorption.
If there are any teeth that the degree of bone loss is too much for the tooth to be saved the veterinarian will recommend that those teeth must be extracted. Dogs are also notorious for breaking their teeth, which can leave the pulp cavity exposed resulting in pain, and discomfort and can eventually lead to infection. Any broken teeth will be evaluated and removed if necessary.
Removing the bacteria beneath the gum line and removing the diseased and infected teeth will make your pet more comfortable, they will eat better, and can even increase their energy level and prolong their life. The best way to prolong your pet’s dental health is to brush their teeth daily. There are some treats and toys that can help in preventing tartar buildup, but this does not mitigate the need for annual cleaning, oral examination under anesthesia, and oral radiographs. Not all toys and treats can help with tartar buildup, and some can even lead to broken teeth, so check with us about which dental chews we recommend.
We are here to help and maintain a healthy oral cavity for pets. You can also read about the other services that we provide.