Can dental care extend your pet’s life?
Your pet’s bad breath may be a warning sign of some serious health problems. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of periodontal (gum) disease by age 3. Periodontal disease is one of the most common conditions seen in pets today.
Plaque and tartar builds up on your pet’s teeth. Plaque naturally harbors bacteria, which infects gum tissue and the roots of teeth. The bacteria will eventually enter the blood stream through large blood vessels in the gums. At this stage, the organs with the highest blood flow are susceptible to infections, including: lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and even the brain. Infection in these vital organs can seriously shorten the lives of our pets.
Warning Signs of Dental Disease:
- Bad breath – one of the first signs of dental disease
- Yellow or brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
- Visible pus or discharge
- Red and swollen gums
- Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth is touched
- Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
- Loose or missing teeth
- Pawing at the mouth
*Your pet can have gum disease without showing any signs.
If your pet has any of the signs above, periodontal disease may be present. A thorough teeth cleaning may be recommended by our veterinarian. Our animal hospital is outfitted with an ultrasonic pet dental cleaning station. Our team members are experienced and trained to perform professional feline and canine dental cleanings.
The veterinarians will oversee each dental procedure. Our technicians have been trained, tested and qualified by the American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians to perform dental cleanings. This training and experience assure the best possible care for your pet.
The doctor will perform a pre-anesthesia examinations looking for any signs that anesthesia may be unsafe for your pet. We strongly recommend pre-anesthesia lab work to further identify problems and help select the safest anesthesia for your pet.
Anesthesia is induced and a tracheal breathing tube is placed. This tube administers oxygen mixed with anesthetic gas and protects from inhalation of bacteria-laden plaque during the procedure. During the cleaning, your pet's vital signs are constantly monitored, including the heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation level of your pet. All pets are placed on a warm water circulating blanket to maintain the patient's body temperature. Next, an oral examination is made of all teeth, gum, and tongue surfaces. At this time the doctor decides if any teeth need special treatment. We are equipped with digital x-ray to ensure your pet is thoroughly diagnosed.
The next step is ultrasonic scaling of all teeth, followed by hand-scaling of tooth surfaces under the gum. This is the same technology is used in human dentistry. After scaling, the teeth are polished to remove microscopic scratches caused by scaling. If left, these scratches would provide a foothold for plaque and speed its return. Lastly, pocket depths around each tooth are measured and charted.