Because oral health is vital to overall health, your pet’s mouth is evaluated at each annual examination. Periodontal disease is progressive and painful, but preventable. Left unchecked, periodontal disease can lead to pain, deep infection, and heart, liver, or kidney failure.
Having regular oral exams by your veterinarian, providing Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approved dental treats and toys, and brushing your pet’s teeth can substantially slow the progression of periodontal disease in dogs and cats.
Periodontal disease progresses from a thin film of bacteria called plaque. Initially plaque is soft and can be removed easily. If not removed, however, the plaque hardens and can lead to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). Infection is then likely to form around the root of the tooth, endangering the tooth itself as well as the surrounding tissue.
When plaque and tartar extend below the gums, professional cleaning and polishing is needed. For a thorough dental cleaning, your pet must be anesthetized. This allows for a full evaluation and treatment of the mouth, including radiographs (x-rays) of all the teeth.
While the teeth may visually appear normal, often there is radiographic evidence of disease below the gum line. This is true for us humans too, and it is the reason your own dentist obtains x-rays every year. (We also have the advantage of being able to tell our dentist about a painful tooth, whereas your pet cannot.)
Diseased teeth are removed as needed to maintain a healthy and pain-free mouth. The remaining teeth are cleaned and polished.
At Riverbend, we perform many dental procedures, from routine cleaning and scaling to complicated extractions. We have high-definition digital dental x-ray equipment. We use an ultrasonic tooth cleaner and polisher, as well as a high-speed drill. A surgical technician assists the doctor and monitors anesthesia throughout the process. And we employ state-of-the-art pain management protocols, including local nerve blocks, to minimize discomfort.
For more extensive dental care (such as root canals, crowns, or other restorative work), we offer referrals to practices with board-certified veterinary dentists.