Routine examination of your pet's mouth by a veterinarian will help to detect and treat problems early in an effort to prevent dental decay. Giving your pet a proper diet and appropriate chew treats promotes a healthy mouth. Certain hard items, like bones, antlers, plastic frisbees, and tennis balls can cause tooth damage and should be avoided. You can improve your pet's oral health by brushing teeth with fluoride-free pet toothpaste using a soft-bristled toothbrush on a routine weekly basis, or more often, if your schedule and pet will allow it!
Many breeds are predisposed to dental decay even at a young age, in spite of good at-home dental care and proper nutrition. Greyhounds and many small breeds, such as Yorkies, Poodles, Maltese, and Dachshunds are prone to dental disease, but any breed or species, including cats and rabbits, can be affected. Dental wear occurs as a part of the aging process so dental disease is more common in senior pets. However, juvenile dogs sometimes have retained baby teeth (usually the large fang-like canine teeth) that need extraction to prevent overcrowding.
Signs of dental disease may include bad breath (halitosis), yellow deposits on the teeth (tartar), a red or receding gum line (gingivitis), and/or missing teeth. When the teeth and surrounding structures, such as gums and bone sockets are affected, the condition is called periodontal disease.
Pets with periodontal disease may have a change in their eating or chewing patterns or may salivate excessively. A facial swelling or mouth odor may indicate a tooth root abcess is present. However, many pets with periodontal disease, even in advanced stages, continue to eat and hide their pain. So it is our job to detect it through routine screenings in an effort to prevent and treat the condition. Dental prophylaxis (professional dental scaling under general anesthesia), antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory pain medications are the mainstay of therapy.
It is generally recommended for your pet to have a dental prophylaxis performed annually starting at early middle age when the tartar starts to build, or at a frequency determined by the vet based upon exam findings and risk factors. We use a modern ultrasonic scaling machine that makes the cleaning more efficient. We polish each tooth with polishing paste and apply fluoride foam. We will examine and chart your pet's mouth with observations of the teeth and gums and will keep you informed of our findings and recommendations.
Dental radiographs, x-rays of the teeth and jaw, are available to check for disease beneath the surface, like infected roots/sockets, in order to determine if a tooth requires extraction or endodontic restoration (root canal at a dental specialist). We offer nerve blocks (local anesthesia of the mouth) and pain medication to keep the pet comfortable after waking up from general anesthesia. Discuss risks of anesthesia with your vet. Pre-anesthesia blood work and an intravenous catheter are required to minimize risk.
We carry prescription dental chews, dental diets, and toothbrush/toothpaste kits. Your dedication to at-home dental care and routine veterinary care, including an annual oral exam and dental prophylaxis, will help to keep your pet's mouth healthy and fresh!
Estimates are available upon request.