Dental Cleaning and Oral Assessment
There is only so much that we can see when we lift the lip of an awake animal. Most pets are not comfortable with an oral exam and give us only a brief peek.
During the outpatient visit, we are able to check the jaw alignment, tooth abnormalities, the amount of plaque, calculus (tartar), the degree if gum inflammation (gingivitis), and presence of bad breath (indicator of periodontal disease).
This preliminary evaluation helps us to establish an individualized Health Care Plan for your pet and helps guide us to the level of home care you will be able to provide following the professional dental care and treatment.
Oral Assessment under Anesthesia
At the time of your pet’s dental procedure your veterinarian will conduct a 6-point evaluation and, if indicated, will prepare a treatment plan and contact you before proceeding with additional treatment. It may be necessary to stage needed treatment over subsequent visits.
- General anesthesia is needed to allow a complete oral health assessment and treatment
- A detailed examination of the teeth for missing, extra, loose, or non-vital teeth, wear, and fractures
- Checking the soft tissues – tongue, tonsils, palate and pharynx for injury, masses, inflammation, and infection
- Periodontal assessment for gingival pocket depth and support loss
- Checking occlusion– bite alignment and relationship of the teeth to each other
- Changes since the last procedure
- Documentation of findings in the medical record
What is involved in a dental cleaning?
Just as with humans, there are several steps to a professional veterinary dental cleaning.
Ultrasonic Scaling removes visible calculus (tartar), is fast and produces a smoother tooth surface with less damage than sonic scalers and hand scalers.
Hand Scaling removes calculus below the gumline.
Measurement and Charting of gingival pockets, recession, and identifying other problems
Polishing provides a smooth surface to discourage bacteria and plaque accumulation.
Gingival Curettage, when needed, is used to remove infection and diseased gum tissue from within deep pockets.
Irrigation is done to remove polish and debris.
Fluoride is applied to strengthen enamel and dentin, inhibit bacterial growth, and desensitize teeth.
The tube in the photos is an endotracheal tube that provides a secure airway, delivers oxygen and gas anesthesia, and protects the patient from inhaling water and debris.
Digital Dental Radiographs
This Bichon Frise dog presented with acute pain and bleeding from the mouth. The periodontal infection had completely undermined the bony support on the both distal roots of the first mandibular left and right molar teeth and the both roots of the 2nd mandibular molar teeth. When the dog bit down on the left side the tooth root broke into the mandibular canal and ruptured the mandibular artery. The client had been completely unaware of the dog’s serious dental disease and had not been examined by a veterinarian in several years. All five healthy teeth had to be extracted.
Cat’s have a greater risk of a painful tooth condition known as tooth resorption. This condition is progressive and results in the eventual loss of the tooth. Often, radiographs are the only way to see if the condition exists.
The left 3rd premolar in this film has a severe tooth resorption in the crown and a root resorption in the distal root.
Treatment of the gums and tissues supporting the teeth is needed to save teeth from infectious, destructive, and devastating disease.
This boxer dog has a gum condition known as Gingival Hyperplasia. Left untreated, this tooth will develop periodontal disease.
Dental Dentine Sealant
We can now seal chips and uncomplicated tooth fractures to provide pain relief and prevent bacteria from migrating into the pulp chamber to cause infection and abcessation.
Sanos Sealant is a liquid polymer that we apply after polishing to help prevent plaque build-up. It is useful in pets who are not receiving good daily tooth brushing and for areas that are difficult to reach such as on the inside of the mouth and in between teeth. It lasts for 6 months.
OraVet is a way polymer that bonds to teeth to prevent plaque build-up and help keep the mouth healthy. After cleaning the teeth, we apply a professional product that lasts for 2 weeks. Clients can then re-apply at home weekly with the OraVet Home Kit.
General anesthesia is needed to allow a complete oral health assessment and treatment.
We take anesthetic safety very seriously for all our patients.
Pre-operative lab testing reduces unnecessary risk.
We provide balanced anesthesia that reduces risk and offers comfort and safety with smooth uneventful recovery for your pet.
Throughout the entire dental procedure, we employ strict and elaborate safety precautions to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being.
Our trained veterinary technicians and assistants provide continuous oversight and use advanced electronic monitoring equipment to provide a wider margin of safety.
With comprehensive monitoring we measure seven vital parameters (heart rate, respiratory rate and quality, EKG, blood oxygen level, carbon dioxide level, core body temperature, and blood pressure). IV fluids support blood pressure, patient hydration, provide a route for immediate administration of emergency medications if ever needed, and contribute to a faster recovery.
We provide patient warming and pain management for patient comfort and faster recovery.
We use regional and local anesthetic blocks as needed to alleviate pain from oral surgery.
Most pets awake within 2 minutes of turning off the gas anesthesia and experience mild to no after-effects.