Dental Care is vital for the overall health and longevity of our companion animals. The visible benefits of good pet dental care are cleaner teeth and fresher breath. However, there is a much greater risk to our pets health beyond the obvious damage to the teeth and gums. Infection from periodontal disease can spread and contribute to more serious diseases of the heart, kidneys, and respiratory system. Periodontal disease can thereby shorten the life of your pet in addition to causing pain and discomfort.
Regular dental care by an experienced veterinarian and a home maintenance program is crucial in preventing periodontal disease. Courtenay Animal Hospital performs an oral exam at every wellness visit to help identify problems such as missing or broken teeth, inflammation, tumors, and the buildup of tarter and plaque. We assist in developing a plan alongside pet owners for dental care including a professional cleaning under general anesthesia, if necessary, or an at home regime.
At the first sign of periodontal disease, we recommend a thorough oral exam and cleaning. We recommend that general pre-anesthetic blood work be performed to determine the extent of the disease and identify any concerns that may impede recovery. Dental cleanings are a medical procedure which requires pets to undergo a short anesthesia; so precautions and preparations are therefore the same as with any surgery.
During the procedure, your pets receive the safest anesthetic available. All patients' vital signs are monitored closely throughout the procedure by a trained dedicated technician and until the patient is fully alert and recovering. While anesthetized, the patient's teeth are probed for pockets, charted, ultrasonically scaled above and below the gum line, and then polished to remove scratches and rough spots to create a smooth surface so plaque will not develop on the enamel quickly. In cases of advanced periodontal disease, tooth extractions or other oral surgery may be reqired.
Our View on Non-Anesthetic Dental Cleanings
We do not recommend non-anesthetic dental cleanings to our patients unless your pet has a disease that creates an increase for anesthetic complications. Our reasons include:
- Stress- Restraint for long periods of time increases stress in our patients.
- Pain-Ultrasonic scaling underneath the gum line (subgingival cleaning) can be painful.
- Lack of thoroughness- It is impossible to probe for deep pockets along the gum line, or be able to properly clean the backside of teeth in an awake patient.
A Home Dental Care Regime
To maintain healthy teeth and gums between professional dental cleanings, we recommend a simple home dental care regime. Brushing your pet's teeth daily, using an oral rinse, and/or dental chews all will be helpful in preventing periodontal disease.
Dental care should be incorporated into the daily routine and takes only minutes. The professional team at Courtenay Animal Hospital is pleased to assist you in learning how to brush your pets teeth.
For more help in this area, the WebMD Pet Health website offers a video demonstration in How to brush your dogs teeth and the comprehensive article Ten Steps to Cat Dental Health.