Dental care makes a significant difference in your pet’s health, longevity and happiness. While cavities do occur (primarily in cats), the most common and serious pet dental problem is PERIDONTAL DISEASE. This is caused by a buildup of plaque and calcius at and above the gum line. Plaque is a sticky, bacteria-laden film that continuously forms on teeth. If not removed it hardens into calculus. The gums recede as calculus builds, forming bacteria pockets. The bacteria infect the gum and eventually causes erosion of the jaw bone around the root of the teeth. When the bacterial infection worsens it may cause a root abscess. The teeth must be extracted, they will not heal with oral antibiotics alone.
Severe dental calculus sends bacteria to the kidneys, causing nephritis (inflammation of the kidney), which may lead to kidney failure or death. Also, bacteria from dental calculus can infect the heart valves causing Endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart and its valves) and heart disease which can lead to death. Not caring for your pet’s teeth very often leads to early death.
Your pet will receive a general anesthetic, and a tube will be placed in his/her trachea to protect his/her airway and deliver a mixture of oxygen and anesthetic gas to maintain anesthesia. An ultrasonic scaling is preformed to remove calcius and plaque on the visible tooth surface and under the gums. The teeth are then polished to smooth the surface and inhibit bacterial growth. A fluoride treatment is also applied.
Prior to dental work, dogs MUST have proof of prior vaccination against Rabies, DHPPV (Distemper/ Parvo virus), Lepto 4, and Bordetella (kennel cough). Dogs MUST also have PROOF of a negative heartworm test and be on preventive. Cats MUST be vaccinated against Rabies, FVRCP (feline distemper and upper respiratory virus), and Bordetella. Any pet that is five (5) years of age or older MUST have blood work performed prior to anesthesia. This bloodwork will provide information regarding your pet’s health (liver and kidney function, glucose level, white and red blood cell level(s) so we can determine the best anesthesia method appropriate for your pet. The bloodwork MUST be performed no more than two weeks prior to the dental procedure, and in some cases, may be performed the day of the procedure. Antibiotics are required after the cleaning. Extractions may also be necessary, depending on the severity of periodontal disease. If any retained baby teeth are present, these will be extracted as well. Your pet may experience some pain following the procedure. Normally this last 24-248 hours. Extractions can cause a considerable amount of pain, just as with humans. Pain medication is available and recommended if you desire.
Dental x-rays are available upon request of the owner at an additional cost.
Some important things to remember about aftercare:
Your pet could be drowsy for up to 24 hours. Allow him/her to rest undisturbed during this period.
Do not give your pet any food until the dafter the procedure, as nausea and vomiting could occur, however, ice cubes or small amounts of water are allowed. You may start to feed your pet small amounts of canned or soft foods for the first 3-4 days following the procedure.
The tracheal tube may cause minor coughing for 24-48 hours after the procedure.
Do not allow your pet outdoors unsupervised for 24 hours after the procedure.
Give antibiotics as well as any additional medications as directed until they are completely gone.
Clindoral Antibiotic Gel: This is placed in deep gum pockets around teeth. This kills the bacteria causing periodontal disease, ensuring the teeth last longer. It may be necessary to repeat this procedure in 4 months if gum and dental disease is present. Teeth cannot be brushed for 2 weeks after Clindoral Gel application under gums.
Consil: This is a bone graph particle product use to pack tooth sockets after extraction. This strengthens the surrounding bone preventing bone fracture and bone recession.
Oravet Sealant Gel: This is a gel applied to polish dried teeth to prevent plaque accumulation. It applied at the time and must be reapplied weekly. This is sold in an 8-tray supply, to be applied once per week on pet’s teeth. Manufacturer recommended instructions is to apply one tray per week. Alternatively, per Texas A&M Dental Seminar instructions, the tray may be warmed in warm water inside a baggie to soften the gel and then applied to the outside surface of the teeth. This method will extend the number of weekly applications per tray and may increase the box of trays to be used up to 6 months depending on size of pet’s teeth and owner application skills. If following enclosed instructions, use gloved finger rather than a Q-tip applicator to prolong supply. This product is used weekly, will drastically decrease tartar build-up and decrease dental procedures usually recommended yearly.
Common Dental Care Questions
1. WHAT IS TARTAR AND GINGIVITS?
Tartar, or dental calculus, is the buildup of food, bacteria, and other residues on your pet’s teeth that lead to gum infectious or gingivitis.
2. CAN DIRTY TEETH BE HARMFUL TO MY PET?
Dirty teeth will cause bad breath eventual loss of teeth due to infection; may even lead to generalized infections in your et due to bacteria entering the blood stream. Heart disease and kidney disease are very common as result of “Dirty teeth” and can often lead to early pet death.
3. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU CLEAN MY PET’S TEETH?
Your pet is given a physical exam and any needed laboratory work to insure your pet’s wellbeing before the procedure. Your pet is then sedated with the same medications utilized in human medicine. Teeth are then hand-scaled, cleaned with ultrasound equipment and polished, very similar to a human dentist. A fluoride treatment is then applied. Necessary extractions are performed when the teeth’s roots have been destroyed by infection.
4. WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME?
Your pet should have no food or water after 10:00 pm the night before your scheduled appointment. We request that you bring your pet to the hospital between 7:00 and 8:00 am, depending on surgery day. This allows your pet to go home between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
5. WHAT ABOUT EXTRACTIONS?
Only veterinarian can determine which test should be extracted, and which loose teeth can be saved. This is often impossible to determine until the pet is properly sedated, due to possible pain in the gum area.
6. WHAT ABOUT ANTIBIOTICS?
Antibiotics are often given before and then after the dental cleaning (and possible extractions) to fight any bacteria present. In many serve infections, antibiotics will be prescribed for several days and then appointment for a recheck. BE SURE to continue antibiotics until instructed not to do so! Use the entire contents of any prescribed medications before stopping.
7. WHAT CAN I DO AT HOME AFTER CLEANINGS?
Soft food should be fed for several days due to the soreness. Gums and teeth are often a little sensitive for 3-4 days after cleaning. Daily use of a prescribed dentifrice is most important to prevent future problems. Many pet (especially over 5 years of age) will require dental cleaning procedures every 6-12 months to maintain optimum oral hygiene.
APPLY ORAVET SEALANT on your pet’s teeth weekly to keep tarter from returning.