Why pets need dental care?
Brushing twice daily and semi-annual cleanings are normal for all of us. What about your pet? Have you looked at your pets’ mouth recently? Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats and is entirely preventable according to the American Veterinary Dental College. Here are some facts about your pet’s teeth and gums:
• Studies have shown that periodontal disease can cause bacteria to spread through the bloodstream, negatively affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys.
• Prevention includes regular dental exams, home oral care starting at a young age and regular professional cleanings.
• Signs of dental disease include bad breath, brown or discolored teeth, loose teeth, red and swollen gums, excessive salivation, pain when chewing, weight loss, appetite loss, depression, pawing at the mouth and growths in the mouth.
• Treatment of existing dental disease requires dental x-rays, general anesthesia, and appropriate therapy.
El Cid Animal Clinic sees more pets with dental disease than any other problem. Statistics show that dental disease is the most common disease in dogs. Overall at least 92% of dogs over the age of 3 are affected. Although less preventable in cats, statistics show that 85% of cats over the age of 3 struggle with the disease. However, scheduling annual pet cleanings can add 2-4 years to your pet’s life! While any dog may develop a dental disease, certain dogs are much more prone to serious teeth and gum issues than others. These include small dogs, which have the full set of 42 teeth in a much smaller mouth, and the short-nosed breeds, such as bulldogs, boxers, and Pekingese.
What happens during a cleaning?
Your pet’s dental cleaning is far different than the same procedure you undergo each year at your dentist’s office. Anesthesia is required to keep your pet safe and comfortable during the cleaning. Prior to any dental cleaning, we perform a thorough physical exam and a series of blood tests to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for this procedure. These tests also help us develop an anesthetic protocol that is unique to your pet.
Once anesthesia is administered, the cleaning begins. We use modern and safe ultrasonic equipment to clean each tooth individually, both above and below the gum line. During the entire procedure your pet’s heart rate, oxygen levels, and respiration will be closely monitored. X-rays are then taken of your pet’s mouth to assess the health of your pet’s teeth and uncover any issues below the gum line. Your veterinarian will then polish your pet’s teeth, which creates a smooth, lustrous surface that is more resistant to plaque build-up. Finally, a fluoride treatment is used to help strengthen the enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity and decay.
After the procedure, you will be sent home with detailed instructions, complimentary toothpaste and toothbrush and a scheduled appointment in 10-14 days after the procedure so that your veterinarian can perform a complimentary recheck evaluation.
What to expect when your pet needs dental extractions
Sometimes analogies are made with reference to “pulling teeth”. People might say getting their children to eat vegetables is like “pulling teeth”. We believe the reason is that “pulling teeth” is never fun or easy.
Dr. Garcia never uses the phrase “pulling teeth” with reference to dental or oral surgical procedures. This phrase is far from an accurate description of procedures requiring skill and attention to detail. Serious complications can, and unfortunately, do, arise from attempts to (literally) pull teeth.
Tooth extractions are a fairly common dental procedure performed in most veterinary practices. Some dental extractions are simple, while others can be challenging. Some teeth are particularly difficult to extract. Dental radiographs are tremendously important for the evaluation of teeth before, during, and after extractions. The “risks” associated with dental extractions are significant. Tooth fractures, failure to remove roots, excessive bleeding and jaw fractures are all complications associated with dental extractions. At El Cid Animal Clinic, we do not take any chances with the safety of your pet and only let our certified, well experienced dental veterinarian do dental extractions.
Effective pain management before, during and after a dental extraction is crucial. A number of positive outcomes are achieved when the patient is comfortable and pain-free. We want you to rest assure that your pet is not in any sort of discomfort while the extraction is being performed. When an extraction is needed, the doctor will administer a local anesthetic that will block pain to that specific area. When pain is managed correctly we then have the ability to maintain that same patient at a lighter plane of anesthesia, significantly reducing the anesthetic risk to the patient. Pain management after the procedure, including the medications given to the owners to give at home, promotes a smooth postoperative recovery for your pet.
Beyond semi-annual dental cleanings
Here at El Cid Animal Clinic Dr. Xavier Garcia understands how stressful and costly it can be for a pet parent to have to take their pet from clinic to clinic. That is why we strive to be able to offer you the most comprehensive list of services available to you and your pet. Dr. Garcia has been practicing veterinary medicine for over 26 years and has a keen interest in dentistry. Successfully performing all of the following oral surgeries:
• And much more!
Please do not hesitate to give us a call at (561) 832-7922 if you have any questions or would like pricing information.
At-home pet dental care
Pet dental health is so important for each pet’s lifelong, overall health. The team at El Cid Animal Clinic recommends ongoing, at-home pet dental care to preserve your pet’s oral well-being. We recommend Virbac’s C.E.T Dental Health Care products. These products include toothpaste and toothbrushes, but also products that are easier to use such as easy-to-give cleaning treats! We can help you choose and utilize the best products for your pet’s lifestyle and needs.