Why is it important for my pet to receive regular professional dental care?
Proper dental care is essential for your pet’s well-being. Pets need regular oral care to maintain overall health, and so that they can continue to enjoy chewing on a bone, eating food, grooming, picking up a ball, or capturing a catnip mouse.
Most importantly, untreated dental disease can be life threatening. About 80% of pets who are over the age of 3 years suffer from some degree of tooth decay and gum disease and both are painful. Bacteria from tooth decay and gum disease can enter your pet’s bloodstream and result in infection in the heart, lungs, and other essential organs.
Although at-home dental care is important, it cannot replace a professional dental cleaning. Can you imagine going your entire life without seeing a dentist? If you brushed your teeth every day but never went to the dentist, you would eventually suffer from tooth decay and gum disease, resulting in extreme sensitivity and pain.
Left untreated, dental disease can cause your pet oral pain, and can even shorten your pet’s life. The good news is, with the right dental care routine, you can prevent all of this.
The professional dentistry services at Lawrence Veterinary Hospital are designed to provide all the care needed for a lifetime of healthy smiles. We offer both routine/preventive dentistry as well as advanced treatment for existing oral conditions. Whether your pet needs their annual Dental Prophylaxis and Oral Evaluation, or your pet needs oral surgery (tooth extractions), we’ve got you covered. All dental services include the use of safe, effective anesthetic and constant monitoring to ensure your pet’s safety.
What takes place during a professional dental cleaning?
Lawrence Veterinary Hospital calls this procedure a Dental Prophylaxis and Oral Evaluation. All dental procedures are performed in the morning, and are considered “out-patient” procedures which means your pet will be able to go home that same afternoon.
There are many important steps that take place to ensure your pet is pain-free and free of dental disease. When your pet comes in for a Dental Prophylaxis and Oral Evaluation, these 10 steps occur:
- Pre-anesthetic testing and a physical examination is performed, and an individualized anesthetic plan is created for your pet.
- An IV catheter is placed, with fluids running to maintain hydration and steady blood pressure through the entire procedure.
- Multi-modal anesthesia is used to safely pre-medicate, induce, and maintain general anesthesia (this is the standard of care in human medicine as well as veterinary medicine, and offers your pet the safest anesthetic experience)
- Monitoring equipment is used throughout the entire procedure, as is a gentle warming device, ensuring your pet remains safe and stable
- Your pet’s Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) will take a full set of digital dental radiographs. These are important because in animals, most of the pathology is underneath the gumline, meaning serious dental disease can be present but not be visible to the naked eye.
- The Doctor will review the x-rays and then probe to check for any pockets or other problems. Sometimes the x-rays will reveal problems that require treatment such as an abscess or a broken tooth. If there are any problems that require additional treatment, the Doctor will call you to discuss necessary treatment, most of which can be solved immediately.
- The RVT will scale and then polish the teeth.
- If there were any problems requiring additional oral surgery, the Doctor will perform it, with your consent. Oral surgery can be brief, or can take many hours – depending on the severity of the oral disease.
- Your pet will be fully recovered from anesthesia and will be placed in a warm kennel cushioned with blankets. From that point on, they will be closely monitored while resting. Your pet’s Registered Veterinary Technician will call you when the procedure is done to schedule a discharge appointment with you.
- When you arrive to pick up your pet at the scheduled discharge appointment time, the Doctor and RVT will go over any pertinent information and answer any questions you may have before sending you and your pet home.
Above: A dental procedure being performed by a Registered Veterinary Technician with equipment to ensure the health of your pet: automated IV pump, gas anesthesia machine, monitoring equipment (to monitor blood pressure, oxygen saturation, temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, and anesthetic depth), and digital dental radiography.
How can you continue at-home dental care?
We can help you and your pet achieve a healthy home-care routine. Watch how easy this can be .
The best method is to use a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth daily. If you need help learning how to do this at home, please ask! We are happy to demonstrate this process for you so that you can more confidently accomplish this simple task at home. Even brushing your pet’s teeth three or four times weekly has been shown to have a positive impact on their health.
We also recommend Veterinary-approved enzymatic dental chews which can be a very simple and fun way to maintain your pet’s oral health. We carry products here at Lawrence Veterinary Hospital as well as on our Online Store that have been proven to make a positive impact on oral health.
Our Doctors can advise you on any other dental care or products that can help your pet.
The comprehensive dental services at Lawrence Veterinary Hospital can help!
You deserve to enjoy lots of snuggles with your furry family member without worrying about their stinky breath.