Dental Health Services

Annual dental exams and cleanings are recommended to protect your pet from many health problems and help them maintain a healthy and clean mouth.

Studies show that 50% of all dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. That number jumps to 80% in pets that are 3 years of age or older. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause infection, pain, and tooth loss over time. It can also lead to serious health problems like microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys. Because of this, we recommend an annual veterinary dental healthcare examination for all pets.

Why do pets need dental care?

Many health problems start in the mouth. Plaque, tartar, periodontal disease, and infected teeth serve as a source of inflammation and infection for the rest of the body.

Dental disease is one of the most common problems that we see in dogs and cats. It can cause drooling, reluctance to eat, swelling, bad breath, redness of the gums, loose teeth and tooth discoloration.

When should I seek dental care for my pet?

Dental issues and dental related diseases can easily be prevented by visiting our veterinarians regularly for dental examinations and cleanings. We take a comprehensive approach to dental care including dental health assessment, treatment, and prevention.

How does it work?

Teeth Exams, Cleaning and Polishing

Dog and cat dental cleanings are very similar to human dental cleanings, except that we are required to use anesthesia to properly and safely examine and clean the teeth. After the cleaning, our veterinarians perform a thorough oral exam and check for signs of disease like gum loss, root exposure, or pockets around the root.

Also similar to human dentistry, we do full mouth radiographs (x-rays) of your pet. This allows our veterinarians to be able to evaluate the roots of your pet’s teeth as well as any disease or abnormalities that are located below the gum line and not visible on examination alone.

Tooth Extractions

We make every effort to save teeth that we feel have a chance to be successfully treated. In many circumstances, however, periodontal disease is so advanced that treatment without extraction is unsuccessful. We only extract teeth that in the doctor’s opinion are beyond saving.

Minor Oral Surgery

Many teeth require oral surgery to safely remove each individual root. We have extensive training and experience to perform these procedures properly. Pain medications are administered in clinic and provided for in-home aftercare.

Periodontal Surgery

In periodontal pockets greater than 5 mm, closed root planing may be ineffective, so periodontal surgery will be required. A gingival flap will expose the site of the lesion for adequate debridement. These flaps are created by cutting and gently raising a section of tissue, with one side of the tissue still attached. The tissue is gently elevated using a periosteal elevator. Following debridement of the exposed tooth surfaces, the flap must be sutured closed to prevent tissue dehiscence, bleeding, hematoma, and infection.

Regenerative therapy

Vertical bone loss and horizontal bone loss are two different challenges in periodontal surgery. The goals of regenerative therapy, in addition to debriding tissue and eliminating pockets, include promoting blood clot stabilization and space maintenance, and preventing gingival recession. Regenerative therapy is performed to keep the faster-growing alveolar mucosa and gingival connective tissue out of the lesion, to allow the growth of new periodontal ligament, new cementum, and new alveolar bone.

Gingivoplasty

A gingivoplasty is often performed in patients with gingival hyperplasia. A gingivoplasty is the surgical removal of excess gingival tissue; it is not recommended as treatment for a deep periodontal pocket. The objective is to prevent a pseudo pocket formation, due to the overgrowth of tissue. The depth of tissue and contour of the tooth must be determined by inserting a probe and measuring the amount of excess tissue. A scalpel blade or electrosurgery blade or loop is used to excise the tissue. The blade should be held at a 45-degree angle to the crown. If using a scalpel blade, hemorrhage must be controlled with pressure or hemostatic agents.

Root Canal Therapy & Vital Pulpotomy

What is root canal therapy?

Standard root canal therapyinvolves removing all of the pulp and nerve, disinfecting the canal, filling the canal, and capping the tooth. This will make the tooth nonvital, but by doing so, it will remove the pain and allow the animal to keep the tooth and maintain jaw integrity and occlusion.

Root canal therapy can be done on all teeth, but mainly performed on canine and 4th premolar teeth in most cases.

What is vital pulp therapy?

Vital pulp therapy is considered when the tooth is recently fractured, and the pulp is still vital. The age of the animal, which tooth is fractured, and the length of time the tooth has been fractured must be considered prior to this procedure. It should not be performed if the fracture is more than 48 hours old. The first 5 mm of exposed pulp is removed, followed by a thin layer of a lining cement or calcium hydroxide. This irritates the pulp and forces the formation of a bridge over the exposed pulp. An intermediate restorative layer, such as a glass ionomer, is placed between the cement layer and final restoration. The owners should be warned that this procedure can fail and will need monitoring for the remainder of the animal’s life.

Radiography plays a huge part in endodontic therapy. Multiple x-rays are taken throughout the procedures, to ensure proper placement of materials.

When recommending endodontic therapy, it is important to educate the client about all options available. It is best to try to save the tooth whenever possible.