Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dental Treatments

Here’s a dog with Stage 1 Periodontal Disease (gingivitis):

Here’s the same dog after a professional dental cleaning/treatment at our clinic:

The early stages of periodontal disease begin with a slight red line evident where the gingiva (gum tissue) meets the tooth. This is called gingivitis, which means that the gingiva/gum tissue is inflammed. If left untreated, this will progress and result in loosened periodontal ligaments and loose teeth, pain, infection, pus, worsening of breath, and even internal disease. It is well documented that chronic gingivitis and periodontal disease is associated with (results in or causes) heart, liver, and/or kidney disease in both pets and humans.

The only way to prevent periodontal disease from developing is to provide home care for your pet along with regular professional dental cleanings/treatments.

Prior to scheduling a dental treatment, we take time to educate our clients about what is involved in our dental treatment. Many people believe that a “dental” just involves scraping the visible tartar off of the teeth. Our dental treatments are actually MUCH MORE than that. Doing nothing more than scraping the tartar from a pet’s teeth does not do that pet justice and is actually what I consider a waste of money. Think of what is done to your teeth at your cleanings. Not only is the visible tartar removed from your teeth, but scaling (plaque and tartar removal) is performed BELOW the gumline as well. This is the area where accumulation of bacteria is most harmful.

Our dental treatments start with removal of visible plaque and tartar above the gumline. This is followed by scaling and removal of plaque, tartar, and other debris below the gumline. Once this is accomplished, we irrigate/rinse the gingival tissue with a dilute antiseptic solution to ward off bacteria.

After irrigation, we dry and apply fluoride to the teeth.

The fluoride is then rinsed, the teeth are dried again, and then polishing of the teeth is performed.

Again, the teeth are rinsed and dried.

Lastly, we apply a barrier gel called OraVet to the surfaces of the teeth. OraVet prevents further plaque attachment by 46%, when it is continued to be applied on a weekly basis at home.
If there are other dental problems present, additional procedures may be performed, including dental Xrays, local antibiotic application, dental nerve blocks with extraction of teeth, or other more advanced procedures.

As you can see, there is a lot involved in a dental treatment, and this cannot be done on a pet that is awake.

How often should your pet have a dental treatment? This depends on the age, breed, and amount of home care performed. After evaluation of your pet’s teeth, we can provide you with an estimate for a dental treatment and make recommendations about home care and the frequency of professional dental treatments.

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