It’s possible to add years to your pet’s life with proper dental care. Dental hygiene can also increase your pet’s health, vitality and well-being.
However, if left untreated, dental disease is not only painful but it can also lead to serious systemic issues that may threaten your pet’s health before symptoms are noticeable. For example, oral bacteria that enter from damaged gums and travel through the bloodstream can adversely affect your pet’s kidneys, heart or liver. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop tooth and gum disease by the age of THREE.
Veterinary dental care is an important piece of your dog or cat’s preventive health care program. It not only prevents dental and systemic disease, but it also helps minimize the lifetime cost of care for your pet.
Not all dental programs are created equal
The centerpiece of good dental care is a complete oral exam followed by a thorough cleaning followed by dental radiographs (aka X-rays). Dental cleanings include ultrasonic scaling followed by polishing and a mouth rinse, the combination of which is designed to remove plaque and slow its buildup. This must be done under general anesthesia.
Digital dental X-rays, which are high-definition images that provide a view above and below your pet’s gum line and jaw in order to look for evidence of dental disease that cannot be seen by visual examination alone. This is a wonderful tool for enabling the treatment of dental issues before they become much larger and more expensive medical issues. It is now considered standard of care for x-rays to be taken with every dental procedure.
Should we find any issues, such as evidence of gum or tooth decay, gingivitis, or excessive plaque buildup, we will discuss this with you and provide treatment options. We are experienced dental practitioners and capable of offering a number of dental procedures and oral surgeries. For more complicated or severe cases, we may recommend that your your pet see a veterinary dental specialist. We are very lucky that a veterinary specialist comes to our facility when needed for procedures and consultations.
Oral examinations under anesthesia
Diagnosis and treatment of Periodontal disease
Full Mouth Digital X-rays
Supra and subgingival scaling
We are dedicated to educating you about the importance of dental health.
View video below to learn more about our process of canine dental.
Why is general anesthesia necessary for companion animal dental procedures?
At least 60% of cats and dogs’ normal tooth structure is under the gum line. Partially removing plaque and tartar from the exposed crown is more cosmetic than therapeutic. Removing the plaque and tartar from both above and below the gingiva on the lingual and buccal surfaces requires general anesthesia and results in a cosmetic as well as therapeutic outcome. General anesthesia also facilitates proper pain- free probing of each tooth’s support and the required immobilization necessary to take intraoral dental x-rays. Finally, intubation during general anesthesia protects the trachea and prevents aspiration of water and oral debris.
The 2013 AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, approved and endorsed by the American Veterinary Dental College, advocate the use of general anesthesia with Intubation for dental procedures. A thorough tooth-by-tooth exam and removal of plaque and tartar cannot be performed without general anesthesia. Thanks to AAHA-mandated anesthesia standards, the risk of adverse anesthetic events is minimized.
A veterinary professional is unable to effectively and safely get to the most problematic areas in a pet’s mouth without anesthesia. Thanks to AAHA-mandated anesthesia standards for accredited practices, the risk of adverse anesthetic events is minimized in an accredited practice. A properly placed breathing tube, patient-tailored anesthesia, and closer monitoring actually reduces the risks to your pet’s health.
People don’t usually have to be anesthetized because we understand what is going on during a dental procedure – we understand when someone asks us to keep still in order to avoid being hurt. However, even some people react so strongly to dental procedures that they need to be sedated. In people, a trip to the dentist most often means cleaning clean teeth; with dogs and cats, painful periodontal disease is commonly present which needs to be treated with anesthesia.
Anesthesia is performed with the same medications, monitoring, and support that we humans receive at the hospital.
This includes a pre-anesthetic examination and testing, patient monitoring, IV fluids, warmth, and monitored recovery with a registered veterinary nurse.
Pain management is a priority and medications are used before, during and after the procedure for patient comfort and optimal healing.
We use individualized anesthetic protocols based on the pets age, type of procedure and health status. Age is not a disease and should not be excluded from dental cleanings based solely on age.
We have protocols for pets with heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes.
We would encourage pet owners to familiarize themselves with our Keys to Safe Anesthesia.
Every dental patient will receive a physical examination, pre-anesthetic testing, and an individualized anesthetic protocol.
Digital Dental Radiography
Veterinary dentistry is currently undergoing tremendous modernization. The days of cleaning teeth by removing tartar from above the gum line and pulling out only loose teeth are gone. Providing quality dental care to your pet is impossible without dental radiographs x-rays. Both our clients and our practice standards require a higher level of care for your pet and dental radiology is a vital part of those standards.
Most dental disease lies underneath the gums and cannot be seen without X-Rays. Since treatment decisions are based on x-rays, the better the radiographs, the more accurate the diagnosis. Dental radiography allows for diagnosis of certain diseases, helps plan for the appropriate treatment, and monitors the success of the therapy.
A newer development in dental radiography is the availability of digital radiology systems. Dr. Rogers takes the oral and dental health of your pet very seriously and believes that dental care is an important piece of your pet’s overall health. To better care for your pet’s teeth, he has invested in a modern digital dental radiology machine.
There are many advantages to digital dental radiology. The quality of digital radiographs is much better than x-rays produced by a traditional machine. Because digital radiographs are so much better than traditional x-rays, fewer images of the teeth are needed in order to make an accurate diagnosis. As a result, your pet receives less anesthesia and your costs are less.
Digital radiographs can be taken quickly and do not require the development time that is necessary for regular radiographs. A digital dental x-ray can be developed in just a few seconds, where a regular dental x-ray requires more than a minute. Once they are taken, digital x-rays are immediately displayed on a computer monitor and can be manipulated to get a better view of your pet’s teeth. Our sophisticated digital x-ray equipment produces clear, detailed images that allow us to make a rapid and accurate diagnosis. This also allows us to send your pet home with a copy of its x-rays so you can be part of the treatment plan.
Home Dental Care
Dental care is not something that can be left to periodic visits with us. Because plaque buildup – the primary cause of poor oral health – is a gradual process occurring throughout the life of your pet, it is important to practice good home dental care. As with humans, this means regular tooth brushing and in some cases additional steps may be necessary. Any member of the our staff can show you the proper method for caring for your pet’s teeth as well as help you select the most effective dental products for your pet.
You should also be able to recognize the signs of poor oral health. If you notice any of the following you may want to contact us:
Persistent bad breath – one of the first signs of dental disease (plaque turns to tartar in 36 hours!)
Tartar or plaque buildup (ask your veterinarian how to identify these)
Plaque turns to tartar in 36 hours!
A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
Red and swollen gums
Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth or gums are touched
Pawing at the mouth
Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
Loose or missing teeth