Dental disease doesn't just cause bad breath. Over time, bacteria causes heavy tartar formation on the teeth, leading to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), root exposure, abscesses, and possibly significant bone loss. These conditions can be very painful, and can lead to other systemic problems including kidney disease, heart disease, and septicemia.
Part of every pet's annual exam includes an oral assessment. We look at the gums and teeth to see if there is excessive tartar, fractured teeth, inflamed or swollen gums, gingival growths, or other dental issues. If we determine that your pet needs dental care, we will schedule a dental prophy (ultrasonic scaling and polishing) to remove tartar, plaque, and bacteria from the surface of the teeth. This does require general anesthesia in order to do a complete and thorough job, and to ensure your pet's safety and comfort. Your pet will have a dedicated technician monitoring anesthesia during the entire procedure. We give all pets IV fluids while under anesthesia to support blood pressure, and give injectable pain medications prior to the procedure. After the scaling and polishing is performed, a doctor then assesses the entire mouth to look for tooth fractures, cavities, root exposure, bone recession, and other evidence of disease. Once we have determined if additional dental care is needed, we will call you to discuss a plan regarding further treatment, such as extractions.
Coming soon - digital dental x-ray!