Dental disease is rapidly being recognized as one of the most significant health issues facing cats and dogs. 70-80% of cats and dogs will have some dental disease by the time they are 3 years old. Dental disease can lead to bad breath, painful mouth and difficulty eating, lethargy, and can complicate kidney and heart disease.
We recommend brushing your dog or cat’s teeth to help slow down the development of plaque. Unfortunately, some pets will not allow their owners to brush their teeth. In either case, routine dental cleanings are essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums for cats or dogs. A routine dental cleaning requires that the pet be put under anesthesia to allow proper evaluation, cleaning, and polishing and fluoride treatment of the teeth. Don’t worry, our staff is trained to closely monitor animals under anesthesia and all precautions are taken to minimize the risks of complications. Even older pets can and should have routine dental cleanings. Each patient is individually evaluated and the risks are assessed and discussed with the owner.
It is not uncommon for cats and dogs to have significant and severe dental disease (particularly if they have not had routine cleanings). In some cases the cat or dog is unable to eat or extremely painful due to the disease in their mouth.
The doctors at Anchor Animal Hospital have extensive experience in dentistry and oral surgery and several have received advanced dental training at the Animal Dental Training Center. This allows the doctors at Anchor Animal Hospital the ability to perform advanced dental care. Traditionally, veterinary dentistry involved just “pullin’ them out”. This approach often times broke off tooth roots, left abscess pockets in place, and often led to complications or continued problems. We use surgical approaches to our complicated dental cases.
To remove infected, broken, or otherwise bad teeth an incision is made along the gums and a surgical, gingival flap is created. The gingival flap lifts the gums away from the teeth and underlying bone. This allows much better access to the teeth and the roots ensuring that teeth can be extracted completely and infected areas can be properly cleaned. Once a tooth is removed the flap is sutured back into place, covering the extraction site. This helps decrease post-operative pain and decreases healing time.
When necessary the doctors at Anchor Animal Hospital are able to perform oral surgery to repair defects and biopsy or remove tumors.
Anchor Hospital is also equipped with a state of the art digital dental x-ray unit. Digital dental x-ray produces extremely high quality images and has an acquisition time under 5 seconds. This allows doctors to easily take dental x-rays to look problems under the gums. These x-rays help resolve difficult cases such as painful retained or abscessed tooth roots.
We examine our patients’ mouth and teeth as part of our routine yearly exams. This is a good time to discuss dental disease with your pet’s doctor and determine if any dental procedures are necessary.