The best thing that you can do for your pet's oral health and hygiene is daily tooth brushing, just like us! In a perfect world, you can brush your pet's teeth every day with toothbrush and an enzymatic toothpaste for 60 seconds. Dogs and cats don't tend to get cavities like we do, but they are more likely to get periodontal disease. This means that even if you can't get your pet to use toothpaste, physically brushing can go a long way to prevent plaque (bacteria) build up.
Even if you are able to brush your pet's teeth daily, some of that plaque bacteria will harden and become tartar -- this is like cement on the teeth, and no amount of brushing will get it off. Just like us, animals need regular professional teeth cleanings to remove that tartar and keep their mouths healthy.
Have you ever had your dog or cat have a dental cleaning? It is exactly the same as when we go to the dentist: we take full mouth x-rays, probe the teeth, scale the tartar away, polish the clean teeth, and address any diseased or infected teeth. The only difference is, we can't ask a dog or cat to say "ahhh" while we do all of that! Dental cleanings in pets are done under general anesthesia: this protects their airways (because we can't tell them when to spit and swallow like human dentists do), and allows the veterinarian to access all of the teeth in the mouth.
Dental cleanings under anesthesia are done as outpatient procedures: dogs and cats are dropped off in the morning, assessed and prepared for anesthesia, have their dental cleaning, and then hang out with us for a few hours to make sure they are feeling alright after anesthesia. Plan for your pet to spend a good chunk of the day with us.
We send home all of our patients with medications for you to give the morning of the procedure. This pre-medication packet includes short-acting anti-anxiety medications: it's scary to be a pet in the hospital if you don't know why you're there! These medications help reduce your pet's stress, and allow us to do things like get pre-anesthesia bloodwork, place intravenous catheters, etc. These medications also allow us to use less anesthesia medications during the procedure, so your pet has a safer experience and recover more quickly.
Pennsauken Animal Hospital provides the latest in medical/surgical veterinary procedures and treatment for your pet’s oral health. We believe that routine dental care prevents dental disease that can lead to:
• Pain and Premature Tooth Loss
• Periodontal Disease
• Infections that can spread throughout the body, affecting the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.
• Can lead to a decreased quality of life.
Our oral health program consists of three parts, each tailored to fit your pet:
A complete oral exam of the mouth including charting of periodontal pockets for each tooth, and digital x-rays of each tooth and its root structure to evaluate for disease below the gumline.
Cleaning each individual tooth above and below the gumline by ultrasonic scaling and application of fluoride paste, followed by polishing each tooth to seal its surface.
Educating our clients about continued dental care to help prevent disease going forward.
For more resources and information visit www.vohc.org
Photos from before and after a dental!
We have a “Behind the Scenes” series to show what different procedures are like. Watch this video to see a dental start to finish!
Or check out our video on how to brush your pet's teeth.