Poor dental care can cause more than bad breath in our pets; left untreated,plaque buildup may lead to periodontal disease and other health problems, including bad breath, red, swollen and tender gums, receding gums, bleeding, pain and eventually tooth loss. Infections caused by periodontal disease may become even more serious, potentially damaging vital organs like the heart, liver and kidneys. That's why the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and The American Veterinary Dental Society designated February as Pet Dental Health month, to emphasize the importance of pet dental care.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue by bacteria. Plaque and tartar form naturally when food remains in the cracks of the teeth, especially at the gum line. At this stage the plaque is still soft and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can help remove it. If it is left to spread, plaque can lead to gingivitis, and inflammation of the gums, causing them to become red and swollen and painful. Plaque then hardens into tartar that forms a wedge separating the tooth from the gum. If the plaque and tartar buildup continue, pus can form at the root of the tooth. This is the most advanced stage, showing up as loose teeth, bleeding gums and pain when your pet tries to eat. Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated. Prevention is the best cure for dental disease in animals, and that includes annual visits to your veterinarian to have your pet's teeth examined. Additional preventative measures include brushing your pets teeth on a regular basis, and special foods, along with dental chews, rawhide, dental bones and other healthy products that pets consider "treats," can help keep teeth white and free of disease.
There are two critical components of your pet’s veterinary dental care: oral examinations and dental cleanings. Veterinary dental care begins as early as the puppy and kitten life stage. Puppies and kittens can have problems related to the deciduous (baby) teeth, missing or extra teeth, swellings and oral development. As your pet ages, your veterinarian will look for developmental anomalies, the accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease and oral tumors during their physical exam. Recommendations may be made for cleaning, polishing, and other dental care, or your veterinarian may suggest a program of home dental care.
Here is what will happen when bringing your pet in for a Dental prophylaxis (cleaning):
Drop-Off- When you drop off your pet, between 7:30 and 8:30 the morning of your pets scheduled dental, we will go over the surgical form and answer any questions you may have.
Pre-anesthetic exam - Whenever anesthesia is needed, special considerations are taken to help ensure the safety of your pet. Your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your pet to make sure they are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.
Pre-Surgical Blood-work (If Indicated)-These blood tests evaluate the blood cell count, liver and kidney function. They help determine which anesthetic protocol we use.
Anesthesia monitoring - During anesthesia, the monitoring and recording of your pet’s vital signs (such as body temperature, heart rate, and respiration, as well as other important factors) is important. This helps ensure the safety of your pet while undergoing anesthesia. This is performed by a Certified Veterinary Technician and under the supervision of our Doctors.
Oral Examination- Oral examination under general anesthesia is more thorough than while your pet is awake. We examine individual teeth for mobility, fractures, malocclusion, and periodontal disease (probe for pocket depths after calculus is removed).
Dental radiographs (If Indicated) - Radiographs (x-rays) of the teeth are needed periodically in order to completely evaluate your pet’s oral health. X-rays aid the veterinarian greatly in detecting abnormalities that cannot be detected under examination alone. In some cases, x-rays can confirm the need for extraction of teeth that are loose or badly infected.
Scaling & Polishing - An ultrasonic scaler, similar to the instruments human dentists use, is used to remove plaque and calculus from your pet’s teeth. To smooth out any scratches in the tooth enamel, polishing with a special paste follows the scaling and cleaning of your pets teeth.
Irrigation- Once we have finished scaling and polishing you pets teeth, we flush the mouth with a chlorhexidine solution to remove calculus and debris from the oral cavity.
Fluoride/sealants - We apply a fluoride treatment to help strengthen and desensitize teeth as well as decrease future plaque.
Charting-. We record disease present before therapy, and chart what was done during the prophylaxis, this includes any missing, loose, fractured, extracted, and discolored teeth, as well as feline oral resorptive lesions, periodontal pocket depths, gingival recession, and other significant lesions.
Follow-up- When you pick up your pet, we will go over go-home instructions, including any medications and recommended home-care for your pets teeth.
Oral disease is the No. 1 health problem diagnosed in dogs and cats, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. Without proper dental care, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age three, and only 3 percent of dogs and 1 percent of cats get treatment.
Preventing periodontal disease can result in longer, healthier lives for your pet. For more information about dentistry services at the Byron Pet Clinic or to schedule a dental appointment to establish an appropriate dental health regimen for your pet, call 507-775-6738. During February you will receive 10 % off your pets dental scaling and polishing and anesthesia for their dental prophylaxis.