Caring for your pet's teeth is an important and easily overlooked part of protecting their overall health. Yearly wellness exams are an excellent time to ask your veterinarian about their recommendations for oral care and when/if a cleaning is necessary.
What are the signs that it's time for my pets oral health to be addressed?
- Bad breath
- White to Yellow-brown crust of plaque on teeth near gum line
- Red and/or swollen gums
- Pain or bleeding from the mouth
- Decreased appetite and/or difficulty eating
- Loose or missing teeth
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a term used to refer to an infection or inflammation of tissues surrounding ("peri-") teeth ("-dontal"). The mouth is home to all kinds of bacteria which multiply over time to produce an invisible film that adheres to teeth. If not removed, normal mineral deposits within saliva attach to the film to leave a soft thickened material called plaque. Plaque consolidates on teeth over time to create tartar which is firmly adhered to teeth and difficult to remove. Its location directly underneath and at the gumline causes irritation to the gums (known as gingivitis). As the associated infection progresses, the bacteria in the tartar can be transported in the blood to cause an infection in local lymph nodes (tonsillitis) or distant organs ? including the heart (endocarditis), liver, and/or kidney.
What is a "Dental Prophylaxis?"
Dental prophylaxis (i.e. dental cleanings) are performed for the purpose of both cleaning the teeth and performing a thorough evaluation of the oral cavity to evaluate for any ancillary problems which might be present and difficult to detect during a routine exam. The "prophylaxic" portion of a dental is termed to indicate our goal of preventing problems before they occur or correcting them before they get out of hand. When your pet comes to use for a dental they will be examined prior to general anesthesia. When your pet is deemed fit for his dental procedure they will have an IV catheter placed and the process will begin to get them sedated enough to go under general anesthesia. They will have a endotracheal tube place and the procedure can begin. All teeth will be checked for pocketing and will then be scaled with an ultrasonic scaler, polished and rinsed. Any teeth thats health are in question we have dental radiographs and can no take radiographs of the roots of the teeth! This is incredibly helpful when determining the state of your pets dental health.
Depending on the age of your pet, we strongly recommend some routine bloodwork to better evaluate your pet's current health status and try to rule out any concurrent disease. Any additional medical conditions must be evaluated and addressed properly to ensure the safest anesthesia possible. Depending on the stage of periodontal disease, we may recommend antibiotics prior to surgery to prevent secondary infection.
All owners will receive a detailed chart entailing everything that was done during the procedure and any pets with extracted teeth and/or severe periodontal disease will go home with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.