Here at Chimney Hills Animal Hospital, we like to practice Dental Health every month of the year.
Dental care is vital to the overall health of any animal. Dental disease leads to health issues with the heart, liver, and kidneys, and can affect the entire body through the bloodstream. In fact, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats over three years of age suffer from some form of dental disease, making it the most common pet health issue among our pet population.
In spite of these disturbing facts, many pet owners are not aware of the importance of dental care to their pet’s health. There are a lot of different ways to improve your pet’s dental hygiene, including home brushing, dental chews, and regular inspection.
The most effective way to protect your pet from dental disease is through professional cleanings. We perform thorough cleanings, including the area beneath the gums that you can’t see or access at home.
If your pet has brown/yellow teeth, bad breath, or is having difficulty eating, these could all be signs of dental disease. Please call us at (918) 481-1693 today to learn more and schedule your pet’s dental cleaning.
Here is how we perform our dental procedures:
By performing pre-anesthetic bloodwork and a comprehensive exam, we ensure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. The day of the dental procedure, we give a premedication for pain and to help the patient relax. Once that has taken effect we place an IV catheter and then induce anesthesia followed by placing an endotracheal tube to help maintain an open airway. We administer a gas anesthetic to maintain a proper depth of anesthesia. The pet is then placed on a monitoring system where they are monitored for blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, ECG, pulse oximetery, end tidal CO2, temperature, and a warming blanket placed over them to keep them warm. We also run IV fluids during the procedure to help maintain circulation and blood pressure while under anesthesia. A Registered Veterinary Technician then performs full mouth digital dental radiographs on the patient, then the doctor will look over the radiographs while the technician uses an ultrasonic scaler to scale away the tartar and calculus from the teeth. After the cleaning is done, the doctor performs a physical exam on the mouth and decides if any extractions are needed. With the radiographs on hand and the physical exam performed, the doctor will contact the owner if extractions are needed. If no extractions are needed, or once extractions have been performed, the technician will come back and polish the teeth and apply a fluoride treatment. Once finished, the patient is gently woken up from anesthesia and provided a soft comfortable bed and a recovery buddy (a stuffed animal) to recover with. While recovering, a technician is sitting with the patient until they are up and looking around. We take every precaution possible to make sure your pet is safe and does well under anesthesia.
Here are some before and after pictures of dental cleanings performed here at Chimney Hills Animal Hospital
Canine Before Cleaning, Polishing and Fluoride Canine After Cleaning, Polishing, and Fluoride
Feline Before Clean, Polish, and Fluoride Feline After Clean, Polish, and Fluoride
While the above teeth may look healthy once they are cleaned, it is impossible to see what is underneath the gum line. This is why we take digital radiographs on every patient we do dental cleanings on. Normal teeth above the gum line, may be diseased below the gum line. Following are some of the most common disease processes we see on radiographs.
This radiograph shows an example of mild over crowding of the teeth. You should be able to see space between the teeth where these instead lie right next to each other. This is a common malformation in small breeds and brachycephalic (snub nosed) breeds. This can lead to rapid bone loss, which will cause mobility in the teeth. Tartar and Calculus tend to build up quicker on overcrowded teeth than do those teeth with normal spacing. We recommend dental cleanings on pets with over crowding every 6 to 12 months.
This radiograph shows an example of bone loss. Bone loss is caused by infection that lies underneath the gum tissue. You can identify the bone loss on the left root of the middle tooth, where the bone dips down in a U shape. Severe bone loss leads to mobility, and the infection can cause severe halitosis (bad breath). This is one of the most common disease processes we see in dogs.
This radiograph shows a retained deciduous (baby) tooth. While these teeth usually fall out by the age of 6 months, it is common in smaller breeds to see retained deciduous teeth. If these teeth are not causing a problem (infection, excess tartar/calculus accumulation, impaction of other teeth) they can be left alone, otherwise they are usually extracted.
This radiographs shows an abscess on the root of a tooth. You can see what looks like a dark circle around the apex (the top) of the root tip. These teeth can be painful, and are usually mobile. These teeth are extracted and the area is cleaned well to remove all the infection.
This radiograph shows a tooth that has been fractured across the crown. This can happen because of trauma or weakening of the enamel. In these cases the crown is usually removed and the roots are extracted.
This radiograph shows a resorptive lesion in a dog. These lesions are caused by the body attacking the enamel of the tooth. While these lesions are more common in cats, they are not uncommon in dogs. These teeth are very painful and may cause your pet to stop eating. Once the tooth is extracted, the pet will go back to eating within a day or two as the source of the pain has been removed.
This radiograph shows several resorptive lesions in a cat. The moth eaten appearance of the teeth is a classic radiographic presentation of resorptive lesions. Again these can be very painful for the animal, and may cause them to stop eating, or to chew on one side of their mouth only. If you notice this happening, please schedule an appointment to get your pet in for a dental exam.