Why should I have my pet’s teeth cleaned?
Having your pet’s teeth cleaned is important because 80% of pets over the age of three have Periodontal (dental) disease. Periodontal disease can allow bacteria into the bloodstream which can destroy organs throughout the body. A good, thorough cleaning improves the quality of your pet’s life. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bad breath and tooth loss for your pet. Can you imagine living with plaque and tartar on your teeth all the time?
What is involved with a dental cleaning?
We believe that dental radiographs and a complete oral exam are just as important as the cleaning and polishing. For this reason, dental radiographs, a complete oral exam and ultrasonic scaling above and below the gum line followed by thorough polishing of the teeth are part of every dental cleaning appointment.
Dental Radiographs and Exam
Dental radiographs are an integral part of a complete dental exam that allows us to better examine the teeth and their supporting structures below the gumline. These radiographs show us things we can’t see on physical exam alone, such as bone loss and problems with the tooth roots. Each tooth must be carefully evaluated with radiographs and periodontal probing so the veterinarian can choose the best treatment.
Ultrasonic Dental Scaling/Polish
A dental cleaning above and below the gum line is an important part of general healthcare maintenance for your pet, just as it is in people. The teeth are a potential source for life threatening bacterial infections to the heart, liver, and kidney if periodontal disease develops. Since pets do not brush and most eat a manufactured diet, dental disease is very common. Therefore, routine dental care is recommended. Maintaining good oral health will greatly improve the health and breath of your pet. Cleaning of the teeth here in our hospital, followed with home care, is the best way to ensure the long life of your pet’s teeth.
According to theAmericanVeterinaryDentalCollege, a professional teeth cleaning includes scaling the surfaces both above and below the gum line, followed by polishing. The most critical part of the cleaning is below the gum line and unlike people; pets don’t sit still for the veterinary technician to accomplish this. Even the slightest movement by the patient could result in injury to the oral tissues. Removal of visible tartar without cleaning below the gum line has little effect on the pet’s health and is purely cosmetic. In addition, a complete oral examination is not possible on an unanesthetized patient.
Is anesthesia safe for my pet?
Here at BrookvilleVeterinaryHospital we make every effort to insure that your pet is as safe as possible while under anesthesia. Because of this, we highly encourage pre-anesthetic blood testing. This blood testing is a window into the body that tells us things doctor cannot tell from physical examination alone, such as whether there are liver or kidney problems, any anemia or infection and whether your pet has diabetes.
All patients also need intra-venous (IV) catheterization and if needed patients receive fluid therapy to aid in maintaining blood pressure and internal organ function during anesthesia. In addition, a qualified team member is monitoring your pet while under anesthesia and during the recovery period.
What if the dental radiographs and exam show tooth structure abnormalities?
The nature and severity of the tooth problem and the owner’s ability to perform at home dental care will determine the recommended treatment. Some of the treatment possibilities are listed below.
Clindoral Gel remains in the gingival pocket for up to several weeks. Over this time, clindamycin is released to treat periodontal disease locally. Just one treatment reduces periodontal pocket depth, increases reattachment and reduces gingival inflammation. Clindoral Gel biodegrades over time, so there’s no need to remove it. Clindoral Gel is a great supplement to a complete program for periodontal disease.
Tooth extraction is a common dental procedure performed in most veterinary practices. Dental radiographs are tremendously important for evaluation of the teeth before and after extraction so that complications of extractions are reduced. The teeth are evaluated based on function. If the teeth can’t be repaired, extraction is recommended. Regional nerve blocks are placed prior to extraction to reduce pain. Teeth that are fractured and do not have periodontal disease may be a candidate for root canal, which would require referral to a veterinary dentist.
Teeth with exposed dentin (but not pulp) need bonding sealant applied to decrease plaque & tartar formation, decrease soft tissue irritation from the fractured surface, decrease sensitivity and help prevent infection. The bonding sealant process includes shaping the fractured area with a Dura-white stone, polishing the area with all four grades of Shofu polishing disks, acid etching, applying “One Step” bonding agent followed by light cure, and applying “Fortify” unfilled resin followed by light cure. Dental radiographs should be checked again 6 months following the application of bonding sealant to evaluate tooth viability.