Myth: Animals Don't Need Dental Care
Fact: By the age of 2, 80% of dogs & 70% of cats have some form of developed dental disease. As dental disease progresses, not only does it cause pain and discomfort for your pets, it also breeds bacteria which enters into the blood stream and spreads to the organs. These pets are at higher risk of conditions such as Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, and more.
Myth: Anesthetic Free Dental Cleanings Are Safer
Fact: Anesthetic Free Dental Cleanings are extremely stressful and are unsafe for pets. The jaw is pushed and pulled in many ways against the animals wishes causing them to be tense and sore. This has lead to many cases where the mandible, or lower jaw bone is broken in half. The cleaning itself isn't much better. Only the outside of the teeth and the area above the gums are cleaned - leaving the tartar on the inside of the teeth, on the touching surfaces of the teeth, and under the gum-line. This cleaning technique also prevents for a full polishing of the teeth, leaving micro grooves in the surface of the tooth where tartar and plaque more rapidly build up.
Myth: Feeding Dry Food and Dental Chews will Prevent Tartar Buildup
Fact: While there are some dental diets and chews actually proven to help decrease the rate of tartar buildup, nothing is more effective than brushing the teeth. Dogs have 42 adult teeth whereas cats have 30 adult teeth - not all of which are used in the chewing process. While a certified dental diet such as Hill's T/D or Royal-Canin Dental can help slow down the buildup of tartar on some teeth, it does not prevent tartar buildup or replace the value of good oral hygiene.
Myth: Water Additives Are Just As Effective as Brushing
Fact: While water additives make a good addition to brushing teeth, they far from replace it. Water additives are very rarely used effectively. They must be measured out exactly and new water must be made up every 24 hours, which can become quite costly. Nothing is as effective as the mechanical action of brushing the teeth and using the proper pet-specific enzymatic toothpaste.
At Southfort Veterinary Clinic we recognize the importance of proper dental care for our pets. Not only do we review proper dental care at annual vaccination appointments, but we also offer dental consults to all of our patients.
Our typical dental consult starts with one of our veterinarians examining your pets teeth with you and reviewing a history of your concerns and habits. You then get a visualization of your pets teeth, how they look and how they should look in comparison. While our vets work with you in the exam room, our technicians create detailed estimates for dental cleanings or extractions in the back while our assistants pull together a variety of oral healthcare products in reception. From learning how to brush your pets teeth to oral surgery you get the whole team working to provide you with a personalized dental plan for your pet.
As people, we are expected to visit the dentist twice a year for general cleaning. Often, Our pets require semi-regular dental cleanings too. Based on your pets age, breed, and size you may need to have annual dental cleanings for their teeth.
Luckily, our facility is fully equipped with state-of-the-art dental tools and experienced staff that make the most out of a dental cleaning. Watch the video below to get a full walk through of a dental cleaning with one of our patients.
Often times when a dental cleaning is performed we come across teeth that are so badly infected they need to be removed. In these cases, the infection has spread down through the route and can even cause a fistula, leaving a hollowed out tunnel through the jaw bone weakening the entire structure and spreading the infection to other teeth. Other reasons for a tooth extraction may include a fracture to the tooth, pulp exposure, gum recession, pocket, bifurcation and more. Any condition that has left the tooth no longer viable to properly perform its job, and may be causing pain or spreading infection should be removed.
During dental extractions, even though the pet is under general anesthesia, we also always include a 'dental block' or a local anesthetic that blocks the nerves to the teeth. This allows us to extract the teeth without having to increase the anesthetic they are under and it provides additional pain control that lasts even after the dental cleaning is performed. While take home pain control and antibiotics are dependent on individual cases for dental cleanings, we always provide these additional medications for any pet that has had a tooth extracted.