Routine dental cleaning is an integral part of your pet’s preventive health care. Every dog or cat will need professional dental cleaning at some point in their life, just like people do- some are lucky enough to only need one or two cleanings, while others may need their teeth cleaned annually to maintain their overall health. Dental comfort is vitally important to your pet’s well being- our doctors and staff will work with you and your pet to design and implement the best long term management plan for your pet’s dental health.
Your pet will need to be anesthetized in order to provide safe dental care. Without anesthesia, teeth cleaning is much too scary and stressful for animal patients (think of how many people are anxious at the dentist, and humans at least understand what’s being done!), and there is a risk that they may swallow water from cleaning into their lungs if they are awake. Anesthetic dental cleaning and treatment is extremely safe, using the same techniques and monitoring that we use for general surgery (see the Surgery section for more information). Each patient is first evaluated with a general physical and pre-anesthetic bloodwork appropriate to their age and health, as with any other anesthetic procedure. We can’t always tell what is going on under the gums on an awake exam, and so our dental exam continues once the patient is asleep. Under anesthesia, the patient’s teeth are carefully examined, cleaned and evaluated for underlying disease using dental radiographs (x-rays). Extractions (if needed) are performed using current techniques and pain management appropriate to each case.
Many problems attributed to “old age” in dogs and cats are, perhaps surprisingly, related to dental health- poor appetite, weight loss, bad breath, lower energy levels. It never ceases to amaze us how much younger older pets feel and act once their teeth are clean and their pain has been addressed. If you have any questions about your pet’s dental health, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!