Oral health is one of the most important parts of pet health - and it unfortunately is also one of the most overlooked.
The risks of poor dental care
Periodontal disease begins when plaque builds up on the surface of the tooth, and then solidifies into the hard calculus we call tartar. As bacteria settles underneath the gum-line, they release toxins that erode gingival tissue and bone, and can cause bone loss that results in loose teeth, which then require extraction.
Heart disease such as endocarditis has been shown to be of increased risk in dogs with diseased gums. As bacteria from the mouth gets into the bloodstream, it may cause inflammation of the heart valves, and can potentially lead to congestive heart failure.
Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) can often be attributed to dental infection, by bacteria in the mouth entering the bloodstream and settling in the filters of the kidneys.
Dental cleaning + polishing
Proper dental procedures require general anesthesia, and involve the detailed cleaning of all 42 teeth in dogs (30 in cats). Heavy tartar is removed with the use of an ultrasonic scaler, which uses high-frequency vibrations to remove plaque from the tooth and under the gums. After tartar has been removed from all surfaces of the teeth and under the gum-line, we polish each tooth and apply Oravet - a gel medication that inhibits plaque accumulation and the resulting periodontal disease.
When we examine a dog or cat’s mouth we can only assess the parts of the tooth that we can see. Diagnosing disease that is affecting parts of the tooth that we can't see (such as the roots) requires the use of dental imaging. Optimally, dental imaging should be done at the time of routine cleaning, to avoid painful dental emergencies later on.
Scaling + polishing
Tooth / root extraction
Dentin sealant for enamel defects