It's funny how something so small can make such a huge difference in our lives. Every day we brush our teeth and go about our lives, without even thinking about that time or effort, or even the benefit that comes with it. At Sherwood Veterinary Clinic we place in emphasis on preventative care, and that includes dental care. The bacteria that form on the teeth gain access to the blood stream and can cause damage to your pets organs.
At every appointment, our veterinarians assess the state of your pets teeth and bring your attention to any concerns we may have noted. In order to encourage regular dental care, we also offer dental consults to all of our patients.
Like any other appointment, our dental consults utilize the skill set of each of our team members. Our veterinarian will perform a full oral examination with you while discussing habits, concerns, and any questions you may have. This is when you will have the opportunity to get a close look at your pets teeth with our veterinarians guidance and be shown the comparison between your pets teeth and ideal healthy teeth and gums.
Next, our registered veterinary technicians work in the back to create detailed, individualized estimates for any needed dental cleaning, including extractions and any possible 'combo items' (example, if your pet needs vaccines in 1-2 months time we can schedule the vaccines and dental cleaning at the same time so you only have to bring your pet in once).
Finally, we have our veterinary assistants working in reception to discuss any take home oral care items such as pet safe toothpaste, dental chews, toothbrushes, and dental diets. We work together to provide you with a personalized dental care plan for your pet.
Each year we are expected to see our dentist for biannual dental cleanings. Our patients also require semi-regular dental cleaning too, but the frequency of these visits is dependent on many factors including
Routine Home Dental Care
Fortunately, our facility is stocked with high quality dental tools and skilled staff so that your pet gets the most out of their dental cleaning. We also have an in house dental radiograph so that we can thoroughly assess the health of the tooth below the gum-line.
It is not uncommon for a dental cleaning to reveal teeth that are infected and painful which require removal. In many of these cases, the infection has begun to spread through the root of the tooth and in severe cases can even cause a fistula, which is a hollowed out tunnel through the bone either into the nasal cavity or through the jaw bones themselves. These infections can weaken the entire structure and may spread to surrounding teeth.
While this is the most common reason for a tooth to be extracted, it is not the only one. A few other reasons may include
Fracture of the tooth
Loss of periodontal ligament attachment
Bifurcation and more
We recommend the extraction of any tooth that is causing pain, spreading infection, or is no longer viable.
All of our extractions include a 'dental block' or local anesthetic that is injected into the nerve numbing the teeth. Even though the pets are under anesthetic, we use the lowest effective dose of anesthetic to provide added safety. These blocks also allow us to more adequately control pain associated with the affected teeth as it is specifically targeting the pain receptors and even provides additional pain control after surgery.
Myth: Animals Don't Need Dental Care
Fact: Everyone deserves proper dental care, including our pets. In fact, 80% of dogs & 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease by the age of 2. As the dental disease progresses, it causes pain and discomfort for your pets, but also leads to many more severe medical problems. As the bacteria in the mouth breed, they gain access into the bloodstream and are transported through your pets system causing damage to organs. Pets with Dental Disease are at a much higher risk of developing conditions such as Kidney Disease, Heart disease, and more.
Myth: Anesthetic Free Dental Cleanings Are Safer
Fact: Anesthetic Free Dental Cleanings not only cause a lot of stress for an animal, but it is also safe and incredibly ineffective. In these types of cleanings your animals jaw is pushed and pulled in uncomfortable positions against the will of the pet making them tense and sore. In some cases, this battle between the pet and the cleaner has resulted in cases where the lower jaw bone called the mandible has been broken in half causing immense, unnecessary pain to the animal and requiring extensive specialized surgical repair.
That quality of the cleaning is inadequate itself. Only the outside of the teeth (the part that is easily visible) is cleaned leaving tartar in the inside, back, front, and top of the tooth as well as the bacteria layer underneath the gumline - the subgingival calculus. It also is not possible to properly polish the teeth in an anesthetic free dental cleaning which means that the cleaning itself leaves nicks and grooves in the teeth so plaque and tartar builds up rapidly.
Myth: Feeding Dry Food and Dental Chews will Prevent Tartar Buildup
Fact: There are some clinically proven dental diets and chews that aid in the prevention of tartar buildup, but are far from as effective as brushing the teeth. When animals eat only 1/3 of their teeth are actually used in the chewing process. Animals also tend to chew to one side or the other, much like we do.
While we do sell certified dental diets such as Hill's T/D and Royal-Canin Dental that help slow down the buildup of tartar on the chewing teeth, nothing is better than a thorough brushing of all of your pets teeth.
Myth: Water Additives Are Just As Effective as Brushing
Fact: There are no short cuts to strong and healthy teeth. Water additives may be an acceptable addition to brushing the teeth, but they fer from replace it. The truth is that water additives are widely ineffective due to the improper use of them. If they are not changed out at the exact same time daily and are not measured precisely then they are not capable of providing benefit to the drinker. Some customer complaints regarding water additives is that they are too finicky (ineffective if the circumstances are not ideal) and quite costly to be discarding every 24 hours.
Ultimately, nothing is better than the mechanical action of a thorough teeth brushing using pet-specific enzymatic toothpaste.