Fluffy’s dog breath and Cali’s tuna breath aren’t something to be ignored – they could be indicative of an oral problem. The sooner dental issues are treated; the sooner you and your pet can smile proudly.
Your Pet’s Oral Health
Interesting facts you may not know:
- Dental disease is the most common disease in pets today.
- Over 85% of dogs and cats three years and older have periodontal disease.
- Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly can increase their life span by 3-5 years.
- Dental disease has been directly linked to liver, kidney, and heart disease.
- Dental disease; including gingivitis (inflamed gums) and abscessed or fractured teeth are painful for your pet.
- Your pet may not show pain until the problem is severe.
- The main cause of halitosis (bad breath) in dogs and cats is dental disease.
Your pet’s dental care doesn’t rest with your veterinarian alone. As a pet owner, you play a vital role in helping ensure your pet’s dental health. Remember… pets can live longer, healthier lives if oral care is managed and maintained throughout their lives. In fact, proper dental care may add as much as five years to your pet’s life!
12 Steps to Oral Health
Dental prophylaxis (cleaning) is performed not only to clean the teeth, but also to evaluate the oral cavity for any other problems that might be present. The cleaning not only includes what you can see, but also the area under the gumline – the most important part.
We have devised a twelve-step prophylaxis to give our patients the maximum benefitavailable. Before the prophylaxis can begin, the patient must be placed under general anesthetic. All pets are recommended to have a current blood panel (within two weeks of the procedure). Bloodwork is done to ensure your pet’s overall health before placing it under anesthesia. All pets will have an intravenous catheter placed prior to anesthesia. This ensures that we have an open port to a vein for drug and intravenous fluid administration during the anesthetic procedure. Intravenous fluids help maintain proper blood pressure while the pet is under anesthesia. After the pet is placed under anesthesia, an endo-tracheal tube is placed in the patient’s trachea. This will protect the lungs from the bacteria that is being removed from the teeth, and provide continuous oxygen and gas anesthesia during the procedure. All patients receive pain control and an antibiotic injection prior to their dental cleaning.
Before: The teeth before cleaning
Step 1: Extraction forceps are used to remove the gross calculus (tartar) from the crown (visible portion of the tooth)
Step 2: Prophylaxis- An ultrasonic dental scaler is used. This tool is similar to what is used for human dental cleanings. It is a wide tipped scaler used to remove tartar and plaque from the crown of the tooth.
Step 3: A hand-held (non-mechanical) scaler is used to remove debris trapped between teeth and under the gumline. This step is crucial to a proper cleaning as debris under the gumline is the main cause of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Step 4: The ultrasonic scaler is used again. This removes any residual debris and loose particles from around the gumline. The vibration from this ultrasonic tool helps to stimulate the gums, allowing them to begin the repair of minor gingivitis.
Step 5: The hand-held scaler (non-mechanical) is used again to remove debris stuck in the grooves of the pet’s teeth. This hand-held scaler has a small sharp tip used to extract debris commonly stuck in the grooves of carnasal, lower molars, and the grooves of feline upper canines.
Step 6: A dental probe is used to measure all four sides of each tooth for any pockets or gum recession. Deep pockets are signs of unhealthy gums and teeth. Many teeth with deep pockets are abscessed and need to be removed. Dental radiographs are usually needed to evaluate these teeth for possible extraction.
Step 7: Dental radiograph- radiographs allow us to look at the root structure, oral cavity-bone structure and placement of the teeth under the gumline. Radiology allows us to look at the damage periodontal disease has caused to the pet’s bone structure. Radiographs allow us to see if further treatment is needed; when it otherwise would have gone undetected. At the same time, we may find that a tooth with deep pockets may be healthy enough under the gumline to try and save without extracting.
Step 8: Polishing- the mechanical removal of plaque and calculus causes microscopic roughening of the tooth. These rough spots create a place for plaque to adhere to and restart tartar formation. Medium grit polishing paste impregnated with fluoride is applied liberally to all surfaces of each tooth. A mechanical polisher is then used to smooth the crown and the tooth just above the gumline.
Step 9: Lavage. Scaling and polishing will cause a lot of debris to become trapped in the pockets of the oral cavity. The mouth is gently flushed with an antibacterial solution to rid the mouth of excess polish and debris.
Step 10: C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Rinse is the next step in your pet’s dental cleaning. Bacteria start attaching to teeth just minutes after a dental cleaning. C.E.T. Rinse is a gel-like substance applied to your pet’s teeth that creates an invisible barrier. This barrier prevents plaque and tartar from forming and bacteria from attaching. While we apply the initial treatment; follow-up at home care is required to make the rinse work. Starting a few days after your pet’s dental cleaning; apply Maxi Guard Oral Hygiene Rinse once daily to help maintain the barrier we established.
Step 11: Antibiotics- Some pets may be given an injection of antibiotics at the start of the procedure. Gingivitis at any stage is an infection and antibiotics may be needed. Pets with severe periodontal disease may need more treatment than routine antibiotic therapy. An antibiotic “cement” is applied under the gumline in areas of severe disease. This antibiotic attaches to the tooth surface and stays in place for 2-4 weeks. This provides topical antibiotics directly to the location that needs it most. (Note- the cement does have a yellowish appearance that may look like tartar. Be assured this is not tartar and will come off in a few weeks.)
Step 12: Charting. All pertinent findings and treatment rendered are charted and placed in the patient’s permanent medical record. A copy of this chart will be sent home with you for your records as well. Any teeth missing, removed, broken, discolored, or needing to be monitored for possible extraction or restoration at a later date are all charted. The locations of doxirobe (“the antibiotic cement”) are also recorded.
While your pet is receiving their dental prophylaxis, they will receive all of the following: intravenous fluids to maintain good blood pressure, pain control prior to the prophylaxis, as well as an antibiotic injection. Your pet will be monitored closely with an EKG (electrocardiogram), pulse oximeter (measures the amount of oxygen in the blood), NIBP(non-invasive blood pressure) and their temperature will also be monitored and heat maintained by a WarmTouch convective air warming system. All our patients are monitored directly by a qualified staff member. The above services are simply our standard of care.
Call for an appointment for a free dental exam and quote for your pets dental cleaning.
Average cost for an uncomplicated dental cleaning: Includes all of the above
- Canine: Average Between $240.00 and $280.00
- Feline: Average Between $230.00 and $270.00
If your pet is over the age of 6 years, pre-anesthetic bloodwork will be required. Bloodwork includes CBC (complete blood cell count), and a chemistry panel (checks all major organ functions).
- Bloodwork Cost: $85.00
- Dental radiographs, extractions, and medications for non-routine dental prophylaxis will be at an additional cost.