PET DENTAL CARE (PET ORAL HYGIENE)
is an important, but often times overlooked, part of your pet’s regular health program. Some potentially serious health problems can start with a minor tooth or gum problem. When left unclean for long periods, plaque accumulates on teeth, developing into mineralized tartar (dental calculus). This tartar harbors bacteria, which eventually results in infection of the gums and underlying bone (periodontal disease). The bacteria grow on neglected, irritated gums and can be carried through the bloodstream, causing life-threatening infections in other parts of the body including the heart, liver, and kidneys.
The immediate consequences of periodontal disease include oral pain, bleeding, and tooth loss. Since our pets can not tell us, we have to pay attention and recognize the irritations or infections early. Indications of problems can include bad breath, plaque and tartar formation, resistance to open the mouth, red, irritated or recessed gums, loose or missing teeth, drooling or difficulty chewing. Recurring infections can lead to urinary tract problems. A regular routine of keeping the teeth clean and healthy at all times is the best way to head off problems before they start.
Prior to your pet’s dental, we perform pre-anesthetic blood testing to evaluate and establish the health of your pet’s internal organs (liver, kidneys, etc. plus a complete blood count) for diseases which are often not apparent during a routine physical exam. These tests may also indicate other medical problems linked to dental disease. Because anesthesia is required for dentistry in our pets, pre-testing is done to ensure that their bodies will properly metabolize the anesthetic agent. As with any anesthetic procedure, there can always be a risk of complications. Pre-testing is strongly emphasized in animals over 6 years of age. However, abnormalities can often be indicated in all age ranges
STAGES OF THE DENTAL CLEANING (POST-EXAM)
- Cleaning or scraping of the dental tartar from the tooth. This procedure varies depending on the amount of buildup of material on the tooth itself. At this stage, the visible part of the tooth or the tooth crown is cleaned as well as the important area underneath the gum margins, where there is a small gap between the tooth and the gum line that collects debris.
- After the teeth have been cleaned, they are examined. The teeth will be evaluated identifying any fractures, wear patterns, or signs of dental disease involving the tooth itself. The gum tissue will also be examined for presence of gingivitis or periodontal disease. Included in this exam is evaluation of any sub gingival pockets; these are areas where a space has developed around the tooth beneath the gum line. Depending on the severity of these pockets, a medication may be applied which will form a matrix between the tooth and the gum and stimulate reattachment to the tooth. In severe cases, this is not a successful treatment and extraction of the involved tooth is indicated.
- Next any necessary dental extractions or surgical procedures will be performed. Before this step, we attempt to contact the pet’s owner for approval of any procedures other than simple or complex extractions. If no contact is made, no further procedures will be performed at that time and we will arrange for any additional treatments at a future date.
- The teeth are polished to remove any remaining stain.
- This is followed by a treatment of fluoride, which helps to strengthen enamel, and an application of OraVet, a waxy gel that adheres to the smooth tooth surface and helps prevent plaque build-up. OraVet, and other oral care products, can be purchased for use at home as well.
OUR GOAL IS TO SAVE TEETH, NOT PULL THEM.
Prevention is a cost-saving and life-improving approach to your pet’s long-term good health. To that end, every year, during the entire month FEBRUARY, we focus on dental care at Arnett Animal Hospital. We devote our efforts to getting your pets on a regular routine of dental care and during the month of February, we apply a DENTAL DISCOUNT to all fully paid, complete dental appointments. Don’t wait until a problem arises. Call 847-520-6600 to schedule an appointment for a dental checkup and cleaning now.