Dentistry Frequently Asked Questions


IS DENTAL DISEASE REALLY A BIG DEAL?

Dental disease is a big deal. Gum disease is the number one diagnosed problem in dogs and cats. By the age of two, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease. In addition, 10% of dogs have a broken tooth with nerve or root exposure that owners may not even know about. This is extremely painful until the nerve dies and the tooth becomes infected. Oral infections create systemic bacteremia which can infect other parts of the body. Periodontal inflammation and infection have been linked to heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, liver disease and other problems.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE MY PET'S TEETH CLEANED REGULARLY?

Regular cleanings help prevent periodontal disease and more importantly a cleaning allows for a complete oral examination. Only with general anesthesia can most oral health problems be noted. This includes screening for oral cancer, broken teeth, cavities and in cats, tooth resorption.

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A DENTAL CLEANING?

The required steps that must be performed are:

  1. Supragingival scaling: The removal of plaque and calculus above the gum line.
  2. Sub gingival scaling: The through cleaning of the area under the gum line to remove disease causing bacteria.
  3. Polishing: Performed to prevent plaque attachment to areas roughened by scaling.
  4. Sulcal Lavage: Rinsing debris caught under the gum line.
  5. Oral examination by a veterinarian.

WHY DOES A DENTAL CLEANING NEED TO BE DONE UNDER ANESTHESIA?

It is impossible to do a thorough cleaning and definitive oral examination on a pet that is awake. Pre-anesthetic testing is done on each patient to minimize the risk of anesthesia. The same anesthesia used on pets during surgery is used for dentistry. The patient is monitored the same way as it would be during a regular surgery.