Dental Care
PET DENTAL CARE

Proper care of the teeth is one of the most important and often ignored preventive health measures for your pet. Untreated, dental infection can enter the bloodstream, damage vital organs and shorten your pet's life.

Even people who "brush after every meal" occasionally need their own teeth cleaned professionally. Your pet certainly does not brush. Therefore, he or she will need periodic help from us. Most pets need their teeth cleaned at least yearly, but some may require it more (or less) often.

HOW TO TELL WHEN YOUR PET NEEDS ITS TEETH CLEANED

  1. Your doctor has suggested it after a physical examination.
     
  2. Bad breath is a noticeable problem.
     
  3. You routinely examine your pet's mouth and have noticed that the teeth are discolored.
     
  4. Your pet's mouth is sensitive and he/she will not allow you to look at the teeth. Pain may cause difficulty eating. Abnormal "clicking" sounds from the mouth are also suggestive of problems.
     
  5. Blood or infection has been seen coming from the mouth (or on the bedding).

 ROUTINE CARE TIPS

Once we have professionally cleaned your pet's teeth, there are some things that you can do to try to keep them clean. Your particular "follow-up" program will depend on how much time you can invest and how cooperative your pet is.:

  1. You can brush your pet's teeth weekly with a soft toothbrush. Hold the mouth shut and brush only the outside of the teeth. Special dog/cat toothpaste not only tastes better to the pet but it is safe when swallowed. The newer products also contain tartar control agents that will make professional cleanings needed less often.
     
  2. A tartar control dental spray is also available for cats and dogs. It is to be sprayed on the outside of the teeth at lease once weekly. It also helps with the pet's breath.
     
  3. Providing hard chew toys, biscuits and rawhide bones will help some.
     
  4. A new food (Hill's T/D) is especially formulated to not only reduce new tartar formation but will also help to physically scrap existing plaque accumulations off of the teeth.
     
  5. An antibiotic (Antirobe), has been found to reduce new tartar formation on the teeth when given to the pet every 3 months. It is prescription medication so ask the doctor.
     
  6. Finally, for cooperative pets, a routine visit to the hospital (every 6 months) will allow our skilled dental assistant to re-clean the teeth without anesthesia. This is the best, most convenient, and safest way to help your pet maintain a healthy mouth.

 

ANSWERS TO SOME COMMON QUESTIONS
ABOUT CLEANING YOUR PET'S TEETH:

Q: How much will it cost?

A: The amount varies according to your pet's specific needs. It is often not possible to foresee every      conceivable need in advance (complete evaluation of the teeth is best done after they are cleaned) but an approximate estimate for your pet would be:

Physical Exam

$____________

 

Teeth Cleaning

$____________

Blood Test

$____________

 

Teeth Polishing

$____________

X-rays

$____________

 

Floride Treatment

$____________

Special Tests

$____________

 

Extractions

$____________

Anesthesia

$____________

 

Cavitites Filled

$____________

Antibiotic shot

$____________

 

Gums Cauterized

$____________

Home Medication

$____________

 

Bone Treatment

$____________

Home Care
Products

$____________

 

Oral Surgery

$____________

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Q: Is anesthesia really necessary?

A: YES...pets are essentially uncooperative patients by nature. A thorough teeth cleaning requires the     use of special instruments that are placed into the mouth. This ultrasonic scaler sprays water, vibrates and makes a slight buzzing noise.  Movements by the pet could cause injury.

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Q: Is there any risk?

A: The risk is absolutely minimal. The dental disease is a greater risk to your pet than the anesthesia.

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Q: Can anything be done to lessen the risk of anesthesia to help alleviate my concerns?

A: If you have special concerns, your pet has medical problems, or is over the age of 7 a simple blood test will help the doctor assure the highest level of safety possible.

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Q: Why are x-rays of the teeth helpful?

A: As with people, most of the tooth is below the gum line and only visible with the help of an x-ray.  Hidden disease may be causing your pet pain. X-rays also help us to reduce the number of extractions by revealing the status of the tooth root.  With a healthy root many teeth can be saved.

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Q: If teeth must be extracted how will my pet be able to chew?

A: Dogs and cats do not really chew as we do, however, if there are only a few teeth left, soft (canned) foods may be easier for the pet to eat. We make every attempt to save a tooth before the decision is made to remove it. A loose, diseased tooth is of no value to the pet and can cause pain.

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Q: Can my pet go home the same day?

A: Usually yes...however, late admissions (after noon), needed blood tests, or slow wake-up from the anesthetic may make an overnight stay best for the pet.

 

Web site designed by Ed Acton for Tri-City Pet Hospital