It is that "time of year" when we start talking more and more about dentals and caring for your pet's "oral health" and you may be wondering why?
"Boomer" just went to the vet for his annual check up. He got a pretty good overall review of his health, except Dr. Amber mentioned that his teeth were a grade 2 to 3 and he could use a dental. You are now thinking, what does this mean?
Dogs and cats oral health is graded on a scale from 1 to 4. A grade 1 dental disease is usually very minor tarter with possible areas of some mild gum irritation, but nothing major. Grade 2 to 3 dental disease speaks of areas of inflammation in the gums, moderate tarter, with a possible dead or fractured tooth. Grade 4 dental disease is a mouth that is in severe need of dental care and attention.
Can we make a difference? The answer is YES we can! Dentals at Mountain View are performed completely under general anesthesia with an ultrasonic scalar (just like your human dentist) where we are able to get off all tarter and most staining. We are now able to take digital dental radiographs, so our turn around time on images is within seconds, thus limiting time under anesthesia and waiting. Once the tooth, roots and bone structure can be assessed via radiographs, we are able to determine whether the tooth has to come out or can remain.
Pets do very well after having extractions, in fact, once the extraction sites are healed (2 to 3 weeks post extraction), many pets do even better because they feel better. The thing is, pets can't tell us their mouths hurt or there is pain. Often our only sign is more wear and tear on one side of the mouth verses the other because they are favoring one side over the other.
Dentals can help the pet on so many levels, not only just with the comfort of their mouth. It can prevent heart and liver disease, or further health complications down the road. It is pretty astounding how such an overlooked procedure can actually seriously benefit a pet.
We are big believers of dentistry here at MVVH. We want to educate each and every pet owner to the importance of what a dental can do for their pet and the overall well-being of that pet.