Does your pet have a healthy comfortable mouth? During your pet's annual physical exam, her/his mouth will be inspected to check dental health. If tartar, bleeding gums, bad breath, fractured teeth or cavities are present, dentistry will be recommended. Many pets have dental diseases but may not show outward symptoms until an advanced stage. Early detection and treatment can save teeth and prevent secondary problems such as urinary tract infections or heart and liver disease.
There are four steps in the dental cleaning process.
- Scaling removes the tartar above and below the gum line. This is done with hand instruments and ultrasonic cleaning equipment. The tartar, which is under the gums, must be removed for a dental cleaning to be complete. Once cleaned, the surfaces of the teeth are polished
- Polishing smoothes the surface of the clean teeth, making them resistant to additional plaque formation.
- Flushing with antiseptic removes dislodged tartar from the teeth and helps to wash away the bacteria that accompany tartar.
- Fluoride coating is then placed on the teeth to decrease sensitivity, strengthen enamel, and decrease the rate of future plaque formation.
The above procedures can not be done an awake animal, so anesthesia is necessary. We use isoflurane, the safest inhalant (gas) anesthesia available. Heart rate and oxygenation of the blood are monitored closely during the anesthetic period. Intravenous fluids are given to your pet both during and after the procedure. Pre-anesthetic blood tests are performed to check for any liver, kidney and red blood cell or blood protein problems.
Gingivitis, periodontal disease, fractured teeth and loose teeth
Often during the annual physical exam, an assessment can be made to determine the severity of dental problems. Occasionally the pet's teeth are so covered with tartar that only after cleaning can the extent of the problems be determined. A variety of treatments, including gum surgery and tooth extraction may be required. Cats have a unique kind of cavity called a Cervical Line Lesion. These are common, very painful lesions that tend to occur at the junction of the tooth and the gum line. The enamel of the tooth appears to dissolve away and the underlying pulp is painfully exposed. The treatment for these lesions is extraction.
Treatment of pain is of particular importance to ensure the well being and health of your pet before and after dental procedure. We will provide a combination of nerve blocks, injectable and/or oral pain relief medication as part of your pet's pre-anesthetic medications. Pain medication will be sent home with your pet if appropriate.
Several preventative measures can be recommended to aid in oral hygiene for dogs and cats.
- See regular veterinary care and have the teeth cleaned when advised.
- Try to maintain home dental care by brushing the teeth. Special toothbrushes and flavored toothpastes are available.
- A tartar control diet is available through our clinic. It can be used as a maintenance diet or as a treat. It will not clean the teeth but will prolong the interval between professional cleanings (under anesthesia).
How much does dental cleaning cost? We will be happy to provide you with an estimate for your pet after her/his annual exam. The total fee may include the following components:
- Pre-anesthesia physical exam
- Pre-anesthetic blood tests
- Anesthesia and monitoring
- Intravenous fluids
- Pain management
- Dental x-rays
For more information go to Veterinary Oral Health Council