Dental disease is the most common infectious disease in pets, affecting over 85% of companion animals over the age of two.
While the fundamentals of good oral hygiene and dental health are similar for our companions and their pet parents, there are some significant differences. As humans, we understand why the practice is important, and typically we don’t need general anesthesia for our own procedures. The same is not true for most of our pets. Also, it’s important to remember that, unlike our animal companions, we can tell the dentist where it hurts. Our pets cannot.
Dogs and cats usually continue to eat, drink and act normally, even in the face of severe dental disease. Therefore, for optimum health, all pets two years of age and older should have an annual complete oral examination. In many cases, this must be performed under anesthesia because pets often are not very amenable to a thorough oral examination while awake.
As with their pet parents, full mouth radiographs are rapidly becoming the standard of care for our four-legged friends as we become more educated regarding potentially painful lesions which are simply not apparent without them.
Left untreated, dental disease could lead to heart disease, kidney disease and liver disease, in addition to the local discomfort found with severe dental tartar, periodontal disease, and resorptive lesions. If you neglect your pet’s teeth, not only will he or she suffer from the pain that always accompanies dental disease, but the infection from their mouth could wreak havoc with the rest of his or her body.
Unfortunately, once a pet has periodontal disease, the damage is permanent and they will need frequent cleanings as often as every 4-6 months as well as oral surgery to remove diseased teeth. Don’t neglect a disease that is so easily prevented and treated!!
At Sarasota Animal Medical Center, we have state-of-the-art anesthetic and dental equipment so that your pet will have a safe and comfortable experience. While we make every effort to save our patients’ teeth, our doctors have advanced training in both canine and feline oral surgery, should the need for such a procedure arise.
In an effort to save diseased teeth that still have healthy roots, scaling and root planing can be performed. This procedure involves the removal of dental plaque and calculus and then smoothing, or planing, of the exposed surfaces of the roots, removing material that is impregnated with calculus, toxins, or microorganisms which are the agents that cause inflammation.
Often an antibiotic is instilled around the tooth after the root planing. This helps to establish some remission of periodontal disease. And just like your human dentist, we utilize nerve blocks which decrease any discomfort they might feel after an extraction or deep root planing.
Education and experience are the key to successful dental procedures and oral surgery. Believe it or not, many veterinary colleges are still not preparing their students to perform dental radiographs and oral surgery. Therefore, it is paramount that you have your pet’s annual core exams performed by an experienced practitioner who is trained in advanced dentistry. While a few procedures require a board certified veterinary dentist, at Sarasota Animal Medical Center, we are equipped to deal with most types of oral surgery.