Why is dental care important?
Your pet’s dental health is a vital part of their overall health. Proper dental care and routine oral exams are essential to ensure that your pet’s teeth stay healthy. During your pet’s earlier routine wellness exams we will discuss and demonstrate important home-care for your pet’s teeth. At each routine wellness exam that follows, we will evaluate your pet’s teeth and make recommendations for changes that can be made at home or medical interventions that we can provide to help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy and pain-free. We offer a wide variety of dental services from comprehensive oral exams, intraoral radiographs, and complete ultrasonic scaling and polishing to surgical extractions and mass removals.
Why does my pet need to go under anesthesia for dental work?
Unfortunately, animals do not understand all the benefits of regular dental work and are much less tolerant than we are when it comes to having a dentist inspect our mouth. In order to perform a full, comprehensive oral exam, take dental radiographs and perform a thorough scaling and polishing, our patients need to be asleep. Dental work without anesthesia carries significant risks even if a pet were willing to sit still. Anesthesia-free dentistry carries a high risk of injury to both the staff and the patient, along with a high risk of aspiration which can lead to life-threatening pneumonia. Also, many pets hide painful dental problems very well and even the cleaning process can cause significant pain when teeth are sensitive. Anesthesia allows your pet to experience all the benefits of dental work in a peaceful, pain-free way.
Why don’t you know exactly what you’re going to do in my pet's mouth before they go under anesthesia?
While a basic oral examination can be performed on most awake, cooperative patients, we can only visualize the disease that is going on above the gumline. More than 60% of a tooth is located below the gum and the roots can have significant disease even when the crown above appears healthy. Plaque and tartar buildup along the gum line can also hide changes to the teeth and gums that might become visible once the plaque and tartar are removed. Our basic oral exam allows us to make a preliminary treatment plan before your pet goes under anesthesia but that plan can change significantly once the teeth have been cleaned, a complete oral exam with periodontal probing is performed and the teeth have been radiographed (x-rayed).
How often does my pet need dental work done?
In dogs, there is significant variation among age and breed when it comes to dental care needs. Dogs that may need more frequent evaluation, earlier intervention and more frequent dental procedures include small breeds (Yorkies, Pomeranians, Dachsunds, etc.), brachycephalics (Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, etc.), and dogs of any size with malocclusions (abnormal tooth alignment). Some larger breed dogs may actually go their entire life without ever needing any dental invention beyond regular home care.
In cats, lifelong proactive dental care is especially important because cats are less likely to show outward signs of dental pain and there are a number of very painful dental diseases that are quite common in cats. Frequent examinations of the cat's mouth along with observations about changing behavior at home are important for recognizing and treating painful dental diseases in cats.