Did you know that dental disease is the most commonly recognized abnormality on a physical exam of a dog or a cat? Plaque, a film of bacteria, builds up on teeth surfaces and eventually turns to tartar (yellow/brown layering), and tartar hardens to calculus, a very hard concrete-like layering that is composed of bacteria. If allowed to remain on the tooth surface, tartar and calculus eventually erode the overlying gums and, in severe cases, erosion of the tooth roots and bone surrounding tooth roots occurs called periodontal disease.
At Pendleton Veterinary Clinic, we do more than just clean your pet’s teeth during a dental exam. All patients undergo a dental assessment and treatment includes the following:
- Pre-anesthetic physical to ensure the patient is stable for general anesthesia that day.
- Pre-anesthetic bloodwork to make sure the patient does not have any underlying disease that would greatly affect stability under general anesthesia.
- Intravenous catheter and fluids so that medications may be readily administered to induce general anesthesia and in the event of sub-optimal vitals during the procedure medications may be effectively administered. In addition, fluids keep your pet from becoming dehydrated while being treated.
- General anesthesia
- Electrocardiogram to monitor heart performance.
- Pulse oximetry to make sure the patient is receiving enough oxygen.
- Blood pressure to back sure the patient has appropriate blood flow to maintain kidney and heart function.
- Full mouth radiographs (x-rays) we are looking for disease below the gumline and in the tooth that we can’t see just by looking at the tooth surface
- Tooth scaling a combination of hand and ultrasonic tools are used to clean the teeth and gums below and above the gumline.
- Tooth polishing a gritty substance is used to smooth out the surface of the teeth and remove small bits of plaque.
- Root plaining if deep gingival pockets are present. The pockets are cleaned then a medication that helps the gum heal and reattaches to the tooth is applied to the pocket.
If tooth extractions are required your pet will receive nerve blocks and pain medication. We typically use surgical methods to extract diseased teeth. This includes making a gum flap, cutting teeth to facilitate removal, burring out the infected tissue after the tooth is removed, sometimes placing bone graft material in the tooth socket and suture closed the extraction sites.