Annual dental exams and cleanings are recommended to protect your pet from many health problems and help them maintain a healthy and clean mouth.
Studies show that 50% of all dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. That number jumps to 80% in pets that are 3 years of age or older. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause infection, pain, and tooth loss over time. It can also lead to serious health problems like microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys. Because of this, we recommend an annual veterinary dental healthcare examination for all pets.
Many health problems start in the mouth. Plaque, tartar, periodontal disease, and infected teeth serve as a source of inflammation and infection for the rest of the body.
Dental disease is one of the most common problems that we see in dogs and cats. It can cause drooling, reluctance to eat, swelling, bad breath, redness of the gums, loose teeth and tooth discoloration.
Dental issues and dental related diseases can easily be prevented by visiting our veterinarians regularly for dental examinations and cleanings. We take a comprehensive approach to dental care including dental health assessment, treatment, and prevention.
Dog and cat dental cleanings are very similar to human dental cleanings, except that we are required to use anesthesia to properly and safely examine and clean the teeth. After the cleaning, our veterinarians perform a thorough oral exam and check for signs of disease like gum loss, root exposure, or pockets around the root.
Also similar to human dentistry, we do full mouth radiographs (x-rays) of your pet. This allows our veterinarians to be able to evaluate the roots of your pet's teeth as well as any disease or abnormalities that are located below the gum line and not visible on examination alone.
We make every effort to save teeth that we feel have a chance to be successfully treated. In many circumstances, however, periodontal disease is so advanced that treatment without extraction is unsuccessful. We only extract teeth that in the doctor's opinion are beyond saving.
Many teeth require oral surgery to safely remove each individual root. We have extensive training and experience to perform these procedures properly. Pain medications are administered in clinic and provided for in-home aftercare.
At White Pine Veterinary Hospital, we require anesthesia to clean your pet’s teeth. Oftentimes, dental procedures can be a stressful experience for awake pets. They may experience discomfort and not sit still, which puts them at risk for injury and leads to inadequate cleaning. Anesthesia keeps pets calm so that our veterinarians can perform thorough teeth cleaning and evaluation.
Why we only perform anesthetic dental procedures:
All dental procedures require sharp tools. If the pet suddenly moves, they could be injured. There have been many cases of animal patents losing an eye from suddenly jerking during a non-anesthetic dental procedure.
Precision is key! To precisely clean your pets' teeth, they must hold still. Even the best trained pets do not understand the importance of holding still.
Most dental disease lives below the gum line and is not visible to the naked eye. During your pet's dental procedure, we radiograph every tooth. Periodontal disease, tooth root abscesses, jaw fractures and even tumors can be detected from an x-ray. It is not possible to precisely radiograph pets' teeth while awake.