According to the Veterinary Dental Society more than half of dogs and cats suffer from dental problems by the age of three. By the time our pets are four years old, at least 85% of them have developed signs of periodontal disease (gum disease), which is caused by bacteria-laden plaque. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that all cats and small dogs should have an annual oral exam and cleaning under anesthesia starting at 1 year of age and large breed dogs at 2 years of age.
Dental disease causes your pet discomfort and pain and may be recognized by common symptoms such as bad breath, yellow or brown tartar build-up, bleeding gums, broken teeth, frequent eye or nose infections, difficulty picking up or keeping the food in the mouth, or pawing at the face.
While we can perform an oral exam with your pet awake, all pets whether young or old need to be under general anesthesia for safe and proper cleaning of the teeth. Your pet’s mouth will need to open, and your pet will need to be completely still so that plaque and tartar can be safely removed and so that any further dental procedures such as extractions or removal of masses along the gum margins can be performed.
We perform pre-anesthetic exams and blood testing and choose the safest anesthetic drugs for your individual pet based on age, weight, and any other health problems. We keep our patients warm with a circulating water blanket and monitor their heart rate, respiration rate, blood oxygen level, temperature and blood pressure while under anesthesia. All dental patients have an IV catheter and are given IV fluids to keep them hydrated and maintain proper blood pressure throughout the time they are anesthetized.
We use ultrasonic dental scaling to remove plaque and tartar from your dog or cat’s teeth and under the gums. After removing the plaque, we apply a dental polish to smooth any roughened areas and decrease the chances of plaque forming again on the teeth. We also offer a dental sealant that creates a barrier to bacteria along the gum line that slows the return of plaque for up to 6 months without any teeth brushing.
Whether problems are found during a routine exam or once your pet is under anesthesia for a cleaning, a doctor will call you to discuss the options for your pet.
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