Did you know that around 70% of dogs and cats over the age of three years old need some sort of dental treatment?
It has also been shown that by keeping your pet’s gums and teeth healthy you can add one to two years to their life and reduce the amount of pain they feel significantly!
The cornerstone to this is daily brushing, (at least four times per week). Imagine what your teeth would look like if you had never brushed them. We are finding that there is not much diﬀerence in our pets.
Brushing removes plaque, which is a totally invisible film, (If you see it, it is not plaque). The plaque comes oﬀ very easily because it is simply a soft layer of slime.
When the plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus and tartar. The damage that these cause cannot no longer be helped by brushing because all the damage is under the gums.
The teeth themselves are rarely damaged but the ligaments that hold the roots into the bony sockets and the sockets themselves are gradually eroded and eaten away by the huge number of bacteria.
This causes 4 main problems:
- Pain: It becomes very painful for your pet even though they don’t complain. We know it is painful because of how their behavior changes after treatment.
- Infection: The billions of bacteria showering all your pets internal organs will result in a shorter life. It seems that the heart valves and kidneys are especially vulnerable.
- Loss of teeth: Once more than 50% of the ligaments and bony sockets are gone, your pet will lose those teeth after enduring a long period of pain.
- Odor: The bacteria cause your pets mouth to have a noticeable bad odor.
Our doctors are thoroughly trained and experienced in dentistry and love it!
Every patient receives a full mouth X-Ray since 80% of all disease is below the gum line and without X-Rays it is very common to mis-diagnose what your pet needs. Once the X-Rays and dental probing of every tooth is charted, a plan is made. It may include simply ultrasonic and hand scaling and curetting, and polishing. Or, if the pet’s teeth have not received regular brushing, there is often a need for extractions. Broken teeth often need to be extracted to prevents root abscesses. Bonding and sealants are often done if the enamel is cracked but the damage has not yet entered the pulp.
Of course all this requires your pet to be anesthetized. We analyze pre-anesthetic blood work to evaluate if the procedure is risky for your pet. In around 2-5% of cases
we either cancel the procedure or delay it until the other health issues can be addressed. Intravenous fluids during the procedure allows us to prevent arguably the most serious risk of anesthesia; low blood pressure. We use the safest form of anesthesia and have a dedicated technician monitoring your pet physically and via monitors before, during, and after the procedure.
Most pets, whose owners brush the teeth need a professional cleaning every 1-3 years, depending on the unique dental anatomy of each pet. Pets whose teeth and gums are very infected will need a more extensive dental treatment followed by routine brushing and professional cleanings.
Having your pets teeth “scaled” by groomers or other un-licensed persons usually causes more harm than good. They cannot get under the gums without anesthesia and by scraping without polishing they actually create microscopic grooves which allow bacteria to grow back faster. If they simply brush, that is great, but it should be done daily at home as well.