Dental disease is the most common problem we see in pets. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by the time they are three years of age. For this reason it is part of our annual wellness check-up.
Animals do not communicate dental pain well so you need to detect it through other signs and changes in behavior. The most common indicator is bad breath. Other signs of dental distress can be a decrease in liveliness, running to the food dish but just looking at the food, drooling, and pawing at the mouth.
We have some of the latest equipment available to provide dental care for your pet, and our dental services include:
- teeth cleaning
- periodontal treatment
- periodontal surgery
The assessment of your pet’s teeth starts by doing an oral exam. However, this often requires taking a closer look at each tooth and probing the gums, which can only be done under a general anesthetic. General anesthetic is also necessary if we want to take any X-rays. Since we have the technology to do digital X-rays, this gives us an immediate understanding of the situation. We will then consult with you on the state of your pet’s mouth and carry out any necessary procedures.
Extractions of teeth can be simple procedures but this very much depends on the degree of disease present. A surgical extraction involves first raising a flap of skin to expose the root of the tooth. The bone surrounding the root can then be removed with a high-speed dental burr to facilitate extraction. Teeth with multiple roots are divided or sectioned, and each section is removed individually as if it were its own tooth.
After extraction, the root holes are cleaned to remove any debris and infection, and the bone is smoothed off getting rid of any rough surfaces. The gum flap is then sutured back in place over the extraction site, eliminating the hole and allowing the animal to heal faster and with much less pain.
Pain control is a focus of our clinic. All animals will have pain control medication before, during and after their dental procedure. Injectable analgesics (pain killers) along with local dental blocks (freezing) are used to eliminate discomfort. We perform therapeutic laser on all of the extraction sites to reduce swelling and stimulate faster healing. All pets are sent home with oral pain killers.
Following a tooth extraction, the gum hardens and most animals have no problems with chewing even dry food.
In terms of the ongoing dental health of your pet, we can give you advice on brushing, and recommendations for rinses, food additives, treats and diets which are beneficial to maintaining a healthy smile. Regular cleaning is an important factor and will make a big different in your pet’s oral health.