As our pets live longer, dental health care becomes more of an issue. Although it would be wonderful if everyone would routinely brush their pets’ teeth, this rarely happens. Nor do you usually have a pet that is a willing participant. Because of this, we start noticing “bad breath” and dental issues as our pets become older.
In animals, periodontal health is the issue rather than cavities. Plaque (caused by a combination of food, saliva, and bacteria) hardens into tartar which builds up at the base of the teeth. Eventually, this can progress to cause gingivitis (infection of the gums) and bone loss around the base of the teeth. Tooth loss and dental abscesses can occur as a final outcome in some cases. If tarter build-up occurs, we utilize the same high-speed dental equipment as human dentists.
For the safety and comfort of our patients, dental procedures must be done under general inhalation anesthesia. The teeth are fully examined and then ultrasonically cleaned, polished, and sealed. If more serious dental disease is present, teeth may need to be extracted or root canals done after discussion with the owner.