What is Dental Month? When you schedule a teeth cleaning and pre-surgical blood work for your dog or cat you will get a $50.00 discount for any dental cleanings scheduled during the month of March. The teeth cleaning procedure involves a team of a veterinarian and a dental technician to provide general anesthesia and monitoring, teeth scaling with hand tools and ultrasonic scaler to remove tartar below and above the gum line, an examination of the gums and teeth, and comprehensive polishing to smooth microscopic scratches on the tooth surface that can lead to further tartar build up. If problems are found by the veterinarian the owner will be contacted at the time of the teeth cleaning to discuss required treatment and offer estimates for further dental work, such a dental x-rays, extractions, gingival treatments, tumor removals, and other potential concerns.
Why is it a good idea to schedule your pets for a teeth cleaning? Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. Periodontal disease is inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding a tooth. Accumulation of tartar and calculus on the tooth causes gum recession around the base of the tooth which leads to infection that causes the gums to recede further exposing sensitive unprotected tooth root surfaces and the boney tooth sockets. Left untreated, the infection spreads deep into the tooth socket, destroying the bone. Ultimately, the tooth loosens and falls out, leads to a tooth abscess or to the spread of infection to other internal organs, such as the liver, heart and kidneys. In human dentistry, the most common problem found is tooth decay due to loss of calcium from the enamel resulting in cavities.
How do you Prevent Periodontal Diseases? Plaque forms on the surfaces of teeth from ingesting foods. The plaque will thicken and mineralize into tartar and as the tartar thickens, calculus form that leads to infection and inflammation of the gums. The tartar forms above and below the gum surface which makes it difficult to clean teeth with a pet that is not anesthetized since it is painful to the pet to clean the teeth below the gum line. Therefore, prevention is the best protocol. Prevention includes annual teeth cleaning and teeth polishing to prevent bone decay and loss of teeth.
How do you prevent further tartar accumulation after your pet’s teeth cleaning? Giving your pet dental chews such as C.E.T. chews that have Chlorhexidine infused into the chews reduces tartar buildup along with Chlorhexidine dental wipes or dental sprays that you apply to your pet’s teeth daily. Other ways are using a pet formula non-foaming toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth. Do not use human toothpaste as this can cause gastrointestinal problems. There are also specially formulated diets for pets to decrease tartar. Fry Road Animal Clinic sells Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d (tartar/diet) as a regular maintenance diet for adult dogs and cats that has the added bonus of being a low calorie diet and does a great job at reducing tartar. We hope to see you and your pet this month to save on treatment for your pet’s teeth that can lead to a longer, healthier life for your pet.