Veterinary dentistry maintains the health of your pet's teeth and gums in the same way visits to the dentist maintain the health of your own teeth and gums.
The main problem addressed in veterinary dentistry is the accumulation of dental calculus also referred to as dental tartar.
Various mineral salts, organic material, and food particles combine together to form this nasty, smelly stuff called dental tartar and in the early stages of accumulation, the material is soft (plaque). But later, the plaque hardens, adheres to the teeth, migrates under the gum, and requires aggressive scaling to remove.
Without intervention, continual accumulation of tartar leads to severe inflammation of the gums and eventual gum recession and tooth loss.
At the same time, the breath becomes fetid and the mouth becomes a source of chronic infection.
This “periodontal disease” causes a host of other systemic problems including diarrhea, vomiting, pain, irritability, and unfortunately, premature organ failure.
Left untreated, tooth and gum disease facilitates the passage of bacteria into the bloodstream and this bacterial presence ultimately shortens the lifespan of your best friend so preventing dental disease before it starts is best.
5 Tricks to Prevent Dental Disease in Your Pet
- Provide rawhide, hard rubber, or hard treat foods.
- Add a teaspoon full of vinegar to your pet's water.
- Schedule regular dental check-ups yearly
- Schedule professional cleaning by your veterinarian when recommended.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Every professional dental cleaning includes a complete physical exam, teeth scaling, polishing, and antiseptic flushing.
Drop your pet off in the morning and plan on picking it up at the end of the day.
Unfortunately, professional dental cleaning requires anesthesia but the risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of anesthesia in most situations.
Here's How We Perform a Professional Dental Procedure
- Laboratory testing to determine underlying organ dysfunction and anesthetic safety
- Use of light anesthesia to ensure pet comfort and thorough cleaning and treatment
- Scaling the teeth to remove tartar above and below the gum line with both hand instruments and ultrasonic cleaning equipment
- Polishing the teeth after scaling to “smooth down” the surfaces, increasing resistance to future plaque formation
- Antiseptic flushing to rid the entire oral cavity of bacteria
- Fluoride coating to decrease tooth sensitivity, strengthen enamel, fight bacteria, and reduce future plaque formation
Dentistry Common Questions
1. Why does the procedure require anesthesia?
The procedure requires anesthesia because the most important requirement is to remove plaque buildup under the gum. Sometimes, removal is painful.
2. How safe is veterinary dentistry?
Veterinary dentistry is very safe provided that your pet is screened properly before anesthesia.
3. Will you let me know if any teeth need to be pulled?
Yes, we will let you know if and how many teeth require removal before we pull them. Just make sure you are available!
4. After anesthesia, will my pet be in pain?
No! We will give medications to make sure your pet is not in pain.
5. How often does my pet need a dental?
It depends! Some smaller dogs need dental every year or two. Others only require a dental every few years. And some, never need a dental. It just depends on your pet. We recommend dental-only if your pet needs one.