February - Dental Month
Bitsy - Pic taken after her dental :-)
February was dental health month for our companion animals. We really enjoy the patients that come in for routine dental cleanings, on a regular basis. These cleanings require less time to complete and are less stressful on the patient and the veterinary nurse!
Over 80% of dogs over the age of three have active dental disease. Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. Few dogs show obvious signs of dental disease, so it is up to the family and the veterinary staff to uncover the painful condition.
In dogs the main problem is inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. This is caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar which causes periodontal pockets or gum recession around the tooth’s attachment. Left untreated, the infection often spreads deeper into the tooth socket, destroying the bone.
Another problem in dogs is fractured teeth. Most tooth fractures occur when dogs chew on objects that are too hard like ice cubes, bones, nyla bones, antlers or horse hooves. Fractures either expose sensitive dentin or the pulp which contains nerves and blood vessels.
If the pulp is exposed, root canal therapy or extraction are the treatment options. Root canals, have to be referred out to a veterinary dental specialist.
During a routine physical exam, the veterinarian can only assess the heavy tartar and or gingivitis in your pets’ mouth. Sometimes he may recommend antibiotic therapy to be started before the actual cleaning is done.
For a proper dental cleaning your pet will be placed under general anesthesia. We will perform pre-anesthetic bloodwork to ensure your pet’s liver and kidney function is satisfactory to undergo anesthesia. If your pet is 10years or older we do recommend radiographs of the chest as well to make sure the hear and lungs are normal.
The veterinary nurse will perform the pet’s cleaning using both hand and ultrasonic scalers to remove tartar above and below the gum line. After scaling the teeth are polished to remove microscopic scratches and decrease the rate of subsequent plaque buildup. Plaque and tartar begin forming in as little as six hours after your dog’s dental cleaning. A home dental program including tooth brushing or use of a home dental care product is a MUST.
Before and After a dental cleaning