- We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide.
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Many animals have dental pain that they can't tell us about. Animals will often show little or no sign that their teeth are bothering them. During your pet's wellness exam we will pull back their lips to examine the teeth as best as possible. When we do this we are looking for issues such as:
Signs of infection
Retained baby teeth
We also may note areas of crowding, or unusual alignment of the teeth or jaw. After checking the teeth we may recommend a sedated dental procedure. When your pet comes in for this procedure we will be able to fully examine the mouth under anesthesia. This is a much more thorough exam where we often find some things that we weren't able to see when your pet was awake. In future posts we will discuss our dental procedures in further detail, and the types of care we are able to provide.
Dental X-Rays- We are fortunate to have the capability to perform dental x-rays. This is separate from our regular x-ray machine, and is similar to what you might see in your dentist's office. As 2/3 of the tooth is below the gum line, x-rays can provide us with a large amount of important information. Our x-rays are digital, and the image is immediately transferred to our computer screen. Dental x-rays can be very important in the process of assessing whether or not a tooth needs treatment or extraction. Sometimes there are lesions, abscesses, or broken roots below the gumline that we would never have known about without an x-ray. Once we perform an extraction we can repeat the x-ray to make sure no parts of the root still remain, where they could potentially cause pain or infection. In other cases , for instance with broken teeth, we may realize that extraction isn't necessary by evaluating the root canal on the x-ray. We will go over the images with you when we send your pet home, and will even print some out for you to put in your pet's medical file, or show your family.
Advanced Training- All of our Doctors and Senior Technicians have received extensive training at conferences focused on animal dentistry. Collectively we have attended over a dozen multi-day dentistry conferences throughout the United States.
Monitoring- We have a dedicated team of 2 technicians and 1 Doctor that are with your pet throughout his/her dental procedure. One technician is monitoring your pet's vitals while he/she is under anesthesia. That tech is keeping track of the temperature, heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, IV fluids and level of sedation. Along with pre-anesthetic bloodwork before the procedure, we are taking many precautions to keep your pet safe during his procedure.
Equipment- We have specialty equipment that allows us to perform surgical extractions. If we did not have this equipment we would need to use hand instruments only to remove the teeth. This can be very difficult, as the roots are generally at least as long as the crown of the tooth, and can be quite solidly placed within the jaw. With surgical extractions, and careful suturing of all extraction sites, healing time is quicker, and there is less chance of infection.
-Approximately 80% of all dogs and cats have periodontal disease by the time they are only two years old.
-Dental disease frequently leads to more serious health problems such as liver, kidney and heart disease.
-Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth attach to the teeth and produce a film called "plaque". When the bacteria die, they are calcified into "calculus" commonly known as tartar which makes a rough surface for even more bacteria to stick to. In the beginning, plaque is soft and can easily be removed by brushing. But if left to spread, plaque leads to gum inflammation (called "gingivitis") and infection. Eventually, the infection spreads to the tooth root and even the jaw bone itself - causing pain and tooth loss.
-We encourage you to start good oral hygiene practices when puppies and kittens are only a few months old in order to begin a lifetime of healthy benefits that go far beyond sweet smelling kisses.
-It's important for all pet owners to know that pets can lead longer and healthier lives with good dental care. In fact, studies show that proper dental care can extend a pet's life by as much as five years!
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Thank you for taking such special care of Otis. He is doing very well after his oral surgery & we are grateful for the special treatment he received by Dr. Clarke & the entire staff at RAH.