Dental disease is a very painful condition and is known to affect up to 95 percent of pets in first three years of their life. Pets cannot tell you their pain, they rely on you to take care of them and however most pet owners ignore the signs of pain because they don’t know what to look for. Please schedule annual checkups with us, so that our veterinarians can check for signs of dental disease and suggest the appropriate treatment. Regular yearly dental cleanings will prevent dental diseases. In cases where dental cleanings are not performed on a regular basis, the disease starts with dental calculus which progresses to become gingivitis and periodontal disease along with decay of enamel and dentin resulting in cavities, tooth root abscess and tooth loss. Dental procedures are also required to restore chipped and eroded teeth with exposed pulp cavities, often a direct result of chewing on bones, sticks, and pebbles.
Periodontal disease is the number one cause for teeth loss, often times the pets were brought in for teeth cleaning when the disease is progressed to an irreversible stage. Advanced stages of dental diseases may need dental X-rays, teeth extraction, pain medication and antibiotics.
Flip the Lip!
Gently lift your pet’s lip and look for signs of tartar (brown “stains” around the gum line), inflamed gums, or missing/broken teeth. Other signs of dental disease might include:
- Increased drooling or in case of cats, failing to groom themselves.
- Reluctance to eat or direct swallowing without chewing.
- You might see “chattering” of the teeth when trying to eat and or shivering of entire pet with pain or your pet might become lethargic and detached from surroundings.
- The calculus you see is the tip of an iceberg there is so much more under the gums.
How often should I have my pet's teeth cleaned?
It is recommended to perform yearly dental cleaning on dogs and cats. However, some breeds, often small breeds require more frequent teeth cleaning.
How much does the dental cleaning cost?
Dental cleaning procedures cost few hundreds and can quickly go up to several hundreds with pre anesthetic blood work, x-rays, extractions, pain medications and antibiotics.
At Walnut Street Animal Hospital, we believe that “no pet should suffer” irrespective of the owners ability to pay. To facilitate this we offer highly discounted wellness plans with easy monthly installments. Our wellness plans include all the vaccinations, unlimited office visits, discounts up to 15% on all other products and services. Pre-anesthetic blood work, dental cleanings, spay and neuter depending on the plan chosen. Please check our wellness plans and prices by clicking here.
The dental cleaning procedure:
The pet should not be fed after evening meal on the day before surgery to reduce the risk of vomiting and aspiration (inhaling vomit into lungs) pneumonia during anesthesia.
After you bring in the pet, we perform pre-anesthetic blood work to make sure the pet is healthy. (To reduce the complications of anesthesia we highly recommend performing pre-anesthetic blood work, which gives us an idea about the health of the pet; more so about the ability of the pets to metabolize and remove anesthetic drugs quickly from the body.)
Once the blood work looks good we induce anesthesia, intubate the pet (place an endotracheal tube) to prevent bacteria rich dental washings from entering into lungs and to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
We then scrape and clean the tartar and calculus using an ultrasonic scalar. Normal dental scalars move to and fro like a humming bird beak, these scalars when placed incorrectly causes enamel damage, Walnut Street Animal Hospital is equipped with state of the art ultrasonic dental scalar, which rotates in tiny circles and is safe to clean even under the gums.
Veterinarians may find more lesions and advanced dental disease once the pet is under anesthesia, this thorough checking is not often possible in a fully awake pet. Our staff may call you with options for dental x-rays and extractions depending on the extent of dental disease. Please provide a reachable phone number, it is not possible to maintain the pet for a long time under anesthesia while waiting for your approval. If we could not reach you on phone, you may have to re-do the anesthesia procedure just for x-rays and or extractions.
After the teeth are cleaned they are polished using our state of the art low speed drill and then teeth are washed with an antiseptic rinse.
Once the procedure is complete, pets wake up with in minutes and are sent home the same day.
Is Anesthesia safe for my pet?
Pet and patient safety is of foremost importance to us, we highly recommend pre anesthetic blood work to thoroughly assess patient’s health and risk status for anesthesia.
Once the Blood work looks good, we will put an intravenous catheter in all our patients that are undergoing anesthesia as an additional safety measure. Intravenous catheters provide quick access to blood circulation to inject medicines and fluids to resuscitate pets in the event of complications. All our patients are hooked up to fluids immediately before and during anesthesia to quickly correct blood pressure changes if any.
We assign a technician to every anesthetic procedure to specifically monitor the anesthetic parameters and take readings every five minutes from our state of the art anesthetic monitors including ECG, pulse oximetry, blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate, pulse and anesthetic depth. Pets wake up with-in minutes of completing the procedure and are discharged the same day once confirmed to be fully awake and stable by the vet.
Advanced Low Radiation Digital Dental X-Ray System:
Walnut Street Animal Hospital is equipped with state of the art digital dental X-ray system which performs automatic optimal exposure in one go unlike other x-ray systems that need repeat takes and manual adjustments to radiation. Automatic optimal exposure reduces patient and staff exposure to radiation and the quality of our x-rays is better than several human dental x-ray systems.