Did you know 85% of adult pets have periodontal disease? If left untreated the bacteria that cause periodontal disease will travel from the mouth into the blood stream and begin to affect the heart, kidneys and liver and unfortunately, has even been linked to early death. The good news is, periodontal disease is preventable. Even if you miss the prevention window and the disease process has begun, there are steps you can take to control the disease even though it cannot be cured. Whatever the grade of periodontal disease your pet is experiencing we can treat it. We begin with a professional dental cleaning with your pet comfortably under anesthesia. Our highly trained technical staff begins the cleaning by performing a comprehensive oral examination. Then, the largest build up of tartar will be removed with hand held dental instruments. Next, the technician utilizes a special ultrasonic hand piece that removes the remainder of the tartar through sonic vibration. The ultrasonic hand piece also has an attachment that allows the sub-gingival area (under the gum line) to be cleaned gently. Once all of the tartar has been cleaned from the mouth, the technician goes back through and evaluates everything more closely. Any periodontal pockets, loose or fractured teeth, or general areas of concern will be x-rayed. The veterinarian interprets these x-rays and decides if extractions or periodontal surgery are necessary. Once the doctors portion of the procedure is complete, the technician will polish all surfaces of all teeth and finish by applying fluoride foam. Generally, a routine professional dental cleaning takes approximately one hour from start to finish. When extractions or periodontal surgery are required, it takes a good deal more time. At Best Friends we do not perform extensive oral surgeries such as crowning teeth or orthodontics. On occasions where the doctors feel that would be a good option for your pet we would offer a referral to a dental specialist.
Once your pet is home and has recovered from his dental cleaning you may begin home dental care. There are a few options when considering what home dental care will be appropriate for you and your pet. Brushing your pets teeth is the best option, however, some animals will not allow it and we do not want you to get bitten in the process. We offer a special dental diet, Purina DH, available only form your veterinarian. This diet is a large kibble specially formulated to break apart slowly and actually scrub the teeth. This diet is available in both canine and feline formulations, please ask our staff if it would be appropriate for your pet. We also have rawhide chews that are treated with special enzymes to assist in breaking down the food particles that cause tartar. If your dog tolerates rawhide chews and this idea appeals to you, please ask our staff for additional information. Finally, a dental vaccine is available for dogs. It is not something that we routinely offer but for some of our patients it has worked wonders. The vaccine works by blocking the bacteria that causes periodontal disease; it does not, however, prevent tartar from building up on the teeth. We still recommend brushing your dogs teeth or regular professional cleanings. If this is something that interests you please discuss it further with your veterinarian or any support staff member.
Click play to watch excerpts from a routine dental cleaning.
Warning, video contains graphic content.