Periodontal means, “around the tooth” and this is the type of disease that is often found in cats and dogs due to a variety of factors including genetics and minimal to no home care of the teeth. Without regular brushing, bacteria build up on the teeth and plaque and tartar form over time. In response to this build up, the body mounts an immune response under the gums and “around the tooth.” Depending on the pet’s immune system, the toxins released by inflammatory cells and substances can ultimately cause destruction of supporting tissues that help hold the teeth in place and can lead to infection, pain, loosening of teeth and ultimately loss of teeth.
Caring for My Pet’s Teeth at Home
In order to be effective, brushing teeth at home must be done at least several times a week. This timing has to do with how quickly bacteria adhere to the tooth surfaces and create a hardened surface, or tartar. Brushing must be done prior to this “hardening” of the film. Once tartar is formed, professional tooth cleaning under anesthesia is required to adequately remove plaque and tartar not only above the gumline but under the gumline where most disease is located. We recommend daily brushing, and yearly professional cleanings, in order to establish a consistent routine for you and your pet. Starting your pet as a kitten or puppy is ideal but even older pets can learn over time. Starting the routine slowly and building up,with using positive reinforcement and rewards can not only go a long way in improving your pet’s health, but also strengthen the bond you already have with your pet.
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Caring For Your Pet's Teeth In The Clinic
Questions to Ask and Comparison Checklist
Is blood work performed prior to an anesthetic oral exam and treatment?
Yes! Every pet is evaluated with blood work to ensure major organ systems (liver, kidneys, etc.) are able to metabolize anesthetic drugs and to minimize complications that can arise with certain diseases not detectable on physical exam.
What kind of pain management is used for my pet?
Pain medication is part of all pre-anesthetic drugs given in our clinic. Based on the degree of disease and surgery required, additional pain medication is administered systemically prior to the procedure, local “novocaine” like drugs are used to give added pain relief, and oral pain medication is sent home to ensure your pet’s comfort.
What kind of monitoring is used while my pet is under anesthesia?
The most important monitoring tool we have for your pet is a dedicated anesthetic team member who constantly evaluates your pet’s vital signs while under anesthesia. This person’s sole responsibility is monitoring anesthesia. In addition, monitoring equipment such as an EKG, pulse oximetry, blood pressure, an esophageal thermometer, and end-tidal CO2 measurements are utilized.
Are fluids given to my pet?
An intravenous (IV) catheter is placed in all dental patients and IV fluids are given to help maintain blood pressure which helps maintain proper function of the kidneys and other organs.
Are x-rays taken of my pet’s mouth?
Yes! X-rays are necessary to evaluate the majority of the tooth, the root, that is not visible on a regular exam. Because most disease occurs around the root, x-rays are vital to determining the health of each individual tooth and the mouth as a whole.
Are aftercare instructions provided?
Yes! Information about your pet’s procedure and what to expect afterwards is provided. It will include feeding and any medication instructions as well as numbers to call if you have any questions.
Is there a recheck exam at no charge?
Yes! A technician will evaluate your pet’s mouth, answer any questions you may have, and also discuss home dental care at length.