Periodontal disease affects nearly all dogs and cats by the age of 3 years. The bacterial infection in the mouth associated with periodontal disease has been associated with heart, liver and kidney disease. This chronic infection also affects general systemic health and is a source of pain and discomfort for the pet. Dogs and cats often show no symptoms of periodontal disease, so an oral exam by a veterinarian at least every 12 months is critical.
At Rhea Pet Medical Center we strongly promote preventive dental care, as most periodontal disease is PREVENTABLE. Preventive care includes home care (tooth brushing, special diets, mouth rinses and chews) as well as periodic dental cleanings and evaluations under anesthesia. We provide high quality cleaning, evaluation, digital dental x-rays, and treatments including extractions, oral surgery, and referral to a specialist (veterinary dentist) when appropriate.
Our dentistry is a cut above what is offered at most veterinary hospitals. We take the utmost care with each patient, utilizing an individualized anesthetic protocol, intravenous catheter and fluid administration during the procedure, a technician dedicated to the monitoring of anesthesia, and a doctor present at all times during the procedure.
Following is an overview of the dental procedure offered at our hospital:
- Prior to scheduling the dental procedure, a thorough awake oral exam and comprehensive workup is performed (all patients should have blood work, and in some patients other tests such as urinalysis, chest x-rays, or cardiac ultrasound may be recommended).
- The day of the dental procedure, a complete exam is performed, premedication is given, and an intravenous catheter is placed to provide intravenous fluids and administer anesthetic drugs.
- Once the pet is under anesthesia, one technician is dedicated to monitoring anesthesia (heart rate, respiration, pulse oximeter, body temperature, and blood pressure); these parameters are regularly checked and recorded.
- An experienced, trained veterinary technician uses an ultrasonic scalar to clean all the tooth surfaces above the gum line, and a special periodontal tip to clean below the gum line (the most important area); the teeth are then polished.
- Dental x-rays are obtained to evaluate the health of the tooth roots and supporting structures below the gum line and provide important information in determining the extent of periodontal disease and approach to therapy.
- If extractions, oral surgery, or other corrective dental procedures are necessary, the doctor will contact the owner by telephone and most procedures can be completed that day.
- Quadrant nerve blocks, as well as intravenous pain medication, are used to assure the highest comfort of the patient.
- During recovery, patients are closely monitored and vitals are checked regularly until the pet is ready to be discharged.
- When your pet is discharged, a full report may be obtained which outlines the findings of the dental exam, any corrective treatment performed, and detailed discharge instructions. We also work with you to create a customized program of home dental care to further extend the benefits of the professional cleaning.
- The day following your pet’s dental procedure you will be contacted to make sure your pet is doing well.