Dental disease can be a serious problem for many pets.
Food, saliva, and bacteria deposit on the surface of the teeth to form a yellow layer of dental plaque. With time the plaque mineralizes to form calculi or tartar. This plaque and tartar promote the growth of bacteria, which leads to infection and destruction of the gums and supporting tissue around the teeth (periodontal disease). This bacteria can also spread and cause infections to the kidneys, lungs and heart. The animal will have bad breath and a painful mouth. Sometimes the root of a tooth will become infected and abscessed, and often teeth will fall out. Once tartar has formed, it can be removed only by having the teeth cleaned.
Many of the smaller dogs breeds, such as Poodles, Schnauzers, Yorkies, Pomeranians, etc., and some purebred cats will need to have their teeth cleaned professionally once or twice a year as they get older. The time span between cleanings can be lengthened with good routine home dental care.
Please be assured that our dental technicians are well trained in both assessing dental disease and performing dental cleanings. A supervising doctor is always available should they have any questions and makes all the decisions concerning procedures other than the routine cleaning, i.e. extraction of diseased teeth. We are all interested in only the best health care for your pet and would never recommend that a tooth be pulled unnecessarily.
The dental procedure includes an inspection of all teeth, assessment of disease, cleaning, and polishing. The animal is anesthetized, the teeth are cleaned using an ultrasonic machine, and then polished. Severely infected teeth are extracted. Very often antibiotics are needed for as long as 3 weeks to treat the infected gums.
All dental procedures are performed under general anesthesia. The anesthetic used at Hickory Veterinary Hospital is one of the safest known and is commonly used in people. It has minimal suppression of the heart function and pets rapidly go to sleep and recover. If a pet is 7 years or older, s/he will have a blood test done prior to the dentistry to be sure s/he can handle the anesthetic properly. All older pets are also given an intravenous catheter and fluids to further ensure their safety.
Hickory Veterinary Hospital takes pride in offering your pet the safest and best of services. The next time you are confronted with your pet’s less than sterling breath, consider that dentistry may be the answer to give your pet a healthier mouth…… and better breath.