Comprehensive Dental Services
A healthy mouth is a healthy pet.
Periodontal (all the important things that attach teeth to the mouth) disease is estimated to affect 60% of all dogs and 70% of all cats. This alarmingly common disease is all too often overlooked. Dental services for your pet is about more than just pretty teeth!
These chronic infections constantly shower down system organs (heart, lungs, liver, kidneys) with bacteria. Among other harmful effects, the bacteria cause painful bone infections under the gum line, where we can’t see. Dogs and cats are stoical about pain, which is why it is so easily overlooked. In spite of this deep bone ache, they will often appear to eat and play regularly. But after we address the infection, almost all owners notice an improvement in general energy and well-being.
The Dental COHAT
When your pet is brought to Crossroads Animal Hospital for a dental visit, a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment are performed.
- Awake oral exam to evaluate occlusion
- Anesthetize the patient to protect the airway from water. Continuous monitoring by a dedicated technician with state-of-the-art monitoring equipment
- Full mouth x-rays to assess the health of the tooth
- Ultrasonic scaling of the teeth by a trained technician above AND below the gum line (this is critical!)
- Polishing the teeth to remove the microgrooves created by the ultrasonic scaler
- Subgingival irrigation to remove debris & polishing paste
- The veterinarian performs hand scaling under the gum line, full mouth periodontal probing, dental radiograph interpretation, and a treatment plan developed
- The veterinarian calls the owner to obtain approval for the treatment plan. X-rays are absolutely essential to developing a treatment plan
- If surgical extractions are warranted, local anesthetic (“tooth numbing”) is injected, x-rays are obtained after extraction, and all gum tissue is sutured back in place. Comprehensive home care instructions and pain control medications are dispensed
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Care
We know you have a lot of questions about your pet’s dentistry while they’re in our care. Don’t worry, we have answers! Click this drop-down arrow to take a look at our frequently asked questions.
1. Do they have to be anesthetized?
A: Yes. It is impossible to clean teeth with sharp instruments on an awake animal and get under the gumline where the infections live. Also, if they didn’t have a breathing tube in to protect their airway, they would breathe in the water being sprayed in their mouths and develop pneumonia.
2. What about anesthesia-free dentistry?
DON’T DO IT. We don’t care how pretty or ugly the crown of the teeth looks. We care about what’s happening at the root, where the tooth attaches to the bone. This is where pain and infection occur. The only way to assess root health is with x-rays.
3. Wouldn't it be safer to just sedate?
No, we need to protect the airway with a breathing tube to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
4. My pet still eats and chews on bones. Is he/she really in pain?
YES! Dogs and cats will still continue normal behaviors as their teeth rot. But once we address the painful condition, energy and joyfulness increase. Often what people assume is an old pet “slowing down” is really just the result of chronic tooth pain.
5. Can we just give antibiotics to address the infection?
No. The antibiotics will make the surface of the infection look better, but it won’t touch the necrotic (dead) tissue at the root that is the source of the pain. Antibiotics make us feel better but they are insufficient to address our pet’s discomfort.
What Pet Parents Say About Us
Dr. Allison Brekke really made a vet visit a fun thing to do for my 2 fur babies. She is such an amazing and caring vet and she does not gouge you with the fees. Her staff were really helpful and answered all my questions without making me look dumb. You know you found your ‘vet’ when your pets are not coming out of the treatment looking all stressed and about to bolt out of the door right away.