Happy New Year!
We all hope you had a wonderful holiday and look forward to seeing you this year!
Next month is National Pet Dental Health Month, and we will be giving a 15% discount on dentals and associated bloodwork. Many people don’t enjoy going to the dentist themselves, so they don’t want to take their pet. But, know that dental health is very important for our pets. When plaque and tartar build up, every time your pet swallows, he/she is swallowing bacteria from that buildup. These bacteria can then travel to the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs and cause health issues, some of them severe. A lot of these problems can be prevented with proper preventative care. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that pets’ teeth get properly cleaned, under anesthesia, once a year starting at 1 year of age for cats and small dogs, at 2 years for larger dogs.
Many of us have dental insurance, so our annual cleanings don’t hurt the wallet quite as much as they could. Most people don’t carry insurance for their pets, so costs can be relatively more. Here’s a summary of what you are paying for at our office.
Dental Care for your Furry Friend-What are you paying for??
- Bloodwork. This is an important part of any anesthetic procedure. We will run a blood count to check for adequate platelets and any abnormalities in number/kind of white blood cells. A biochemical panel that checks liver and kidney enzymes and blood glucose levels is also performed. On occasion, we do find something underlying that prevents us from putting your loved one under anesthesia due to an increased risk.
- Anesthesia and anesthesia monitoring during the entire procedure. For a typical dental cleaning, your pet could be under anesthesia for 30 minutes, or as long as an hour depending on the severity of disease. During this time, your pet is completely asleep, and a trained staff member is monitoring their heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Unlike anesthesia free dental cleanings, your pet is not being restrained, and there is no struggle with someone trying to do something to their mouth that they don’t understand. We use the safest anesthetics we can, which typically means that your pet is up and fully awake quickly.
- A thorough dental exam by Dr. Locke. He will inspect your pet’s mouth, looking at all of his/her teeth, checking for diseased and/or loose teeth, gum recession, and any abnormal tissue in the mouth. A thorough exam is just not possible without anesthesia.
- A full cleaning of every surface of every tooth with an ultrasonic scaler. Our scaler pulses at 30,000 cycles per second, allowing us to easily and effectively remove all of the tartar buildup from all surfaces of the teeth. Brushing your pet’s teeth at home will not remove tartar buildup. We will also clean just under the gum line with a smaller, gentler ultrasonic scaler to remove any buildup there. This step is important in that this is where disease begins, with bacteria below the gum line.
- Polishing of all the teeth. Remember that gritty paste the dental hygienist uses on your teeth? We use a similar product to polish your pet’s teeth after all the scaling is complete. This creates a completely smooth surface on the tooth, which is harder for plaque to adhere to.
- Fluoride treatment. Fluoride foam is applied to all of the teeth, helping to strengthen them, desensitize any exposed dentin, and inhibit plaque formation.
- Post anesthesia monitoring. Just as a trained staff member monitored your family member during the procedure, we also monitor him/her as they recover from the anesthesia. They are often confused and a little groggy after the procedure, and we are there to reassure and comfort them.
- Pain medications as needed. If your furry friend has to have any teeth extracted, or any other painful procedure done in the mouth, we will give them an injection of pain medicine, which lasts 12-18 hours. Oral pain medications and antibiotics may be prescribed on a case by case basis.
We know that no one really enjoys going to the dentist, but we hope that you will weigh all the pros and cons of taking your furry family member for dental care. We know it can be expensive, but for your pet, it can mean less oral pain, less risk of kidney and heart disease, and little to no tooth loss.
If you have questions, or would like to schedule and exam or cleaning, please give us a call!