As veterinary medicine evolves, there is greater awareness of the importance of good pet oral health. Dental care is a crucial health concern for the veterinarians at Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital, as it should be for you. Poor dental health can lead to serious long-term health effects. That's why we perform dental evaluations with every visit.
Periodontal disease (plaque build-up) can lead to inflammation of the gum tissue and possible infection. Such infections can enter the bone and allow bacteria to enter the blood stream where they cause kidney, heart, liver, and lung disease. Infected gums, broken, or loose teeth can be very painful for your pet, which can easily escape the notice of even the most well-meaning and observant pet parent.
Why have you recommended dental cleaning for my pet?
Based on our physical examination, we have observed plaque and tarter on your pet’s teeth. This warrants a dental cleaning and scaling. Periodontal disease is exceedingly common. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 85% of dogs and cats over 4 years of age have some degree of periodontal disease.
Dental cleanings give us an opportunity to fully examine your pet’s teeth. X-rays allow us to see what is going on in between teeth and under the gum line.
What is involved in a dental cleaning?
Dental cleanings are performed under anesthesia and take place in our surgical suite. Sedation and anesthesia are essential for an adequate evaluation. Just as in any surgery we perform, we exercise exacting standards for anesthesia and pet safety.
Cleanings are much like what we experience at the dentist. Our trained team removes plaque and tartar from both the surface of the teeth and below the gum line. We follow with a dental polishing to smooth out the tooth surfaces. Our dental treatment includes diagnostic measures. We probe the gum pockets around teeth to determine if periodontal disease is present. We also take digital X-rays.
Dental X-rays are essential diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. We use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without X-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
At Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital we use digital dental X-rays which provide better images and are safer for your pet, since they reduce radiation exposure.
How will my pet respond to dental procedures?
Many clients are surprised how quickly their pets recover from a dental surgery. Even in cases when teeth are removed, the ability to chew is not impacted. In fact, sometimes clients notice their pets seem livelier, particularly if they have been suffering from toothaches.
Learn more about the importance of dental hygiene for dogs from Heska.
Let’s plan to talk more about a preventive dental care plan at your next wellness exam. Or feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you have about your pet’s oral health.