The Importance of Diagnostics: Part 2

In our first blog post on Diagnostics we featured the benefits of Ultrasound.  Next up X-rays!

by: Dr. Tracy Fisher

Radiographs, or X-rays as they are more commonly known, have been around for a
long time, since 1895 in fact, but they remain an invaluable tool in diagnosing a wide
variety of conditions. Our clinic offers high quality digital radiology for the body as well
as digital dental radiology.

Wascana Turtle Project.July.1-2-Jul-2016

A turtle with 20 eggs!

Radiographs are used to diagnose many diseases and conditions from heart disease
and pneumonia, to gastro-intestinal foreign bodies (otherwise known as, my pet ate
what?????), kidney and bladder stones, some kinds of cancer, broken bones and
dislocated joints, arthritis, and to get an accurate count of how many puppies a pregnant
dog (or other animal) is going to have. Radiographs and ultrasound are often used together, especially when imaging the abdomen as they provide different types of images that compliment one another and allow us to get a much better idea of what the problem
may be.

Radiographs do use a type of radiation to create an image but the dose used to take a
series of diagnostic images is not significant to your pet. The radiation dose can be
harmful to humans who are repeatedly exposed and to pregnant women. For this
reason our staff wear lead aprons, along with other protective gear and measure their radiation exposure to minimize their individual exposure amounts. This is also why we ask owners to wait outside the room when their pet is having radiographs taken.

Oldfield, Jennifer.Magnum.1-27-May-2014

Radiograph checking hip placement

Sometimes we will sedate a pet in order to take radiographs, this is most common when the positioning may be awkward or painful for the pet such as an animal with a broken bone, painful shoulder or hip x-rays in an excited dog. We will recommend sedation in any pet when we feel it will be too stressful or painful to restrain them for the radiographs.

 

Dental radiographs are used when we clean and examine your pets teeth under a general anesthetic. They are very useful in determining which teeth need to be extracted and which teeth are healthy. Many patients, especially cats, have disease in the roots of their teeth that cannot be seen by looking in the mouth or probing the tooth.  Radiographs let us identify these teeth and remove them, saving your pet another procedure a few months down the road when the problem comes to the surface.

Dental Quiz Answers

During the month of February our technologist Meghan put together a Dental Quiz for our clients.  They could answer and turn in their quiz for a chance to win a dental care gift pack.  It wasn’t about getting the answers right or wrong, it was about getting our clients to actively think about dental care in their pets.  Often this is an area of animal health care that is over looked and yet can greatly affect the health, length, and quality of your pet’s life. pup teeth

Below are the questions with the answers and a brief blurb on each.

  1. What percentage of pets over the age of 3 have dental disease? 

80%

By age 3 your pet has gone 1,095 days without brushing his teeth and even if your pet does chew his food and even if it is a dental specific diet it isn’t going to provide the same exact action as brushing with clean water and toothpaste (think of you eating a carrot).

  1. What is an early sign of dental disease that owners may overlook? 

Bad Breath

Bad breath is a sign that the mouth has a build up of bacteria in it.

       3. True or False: Dental disease causes pain.  

True!

As bacteria builds up in the mouth and eventually plaque then tartar forms on the teeth and gums bleed and separate the decay moves under the gums.  All of this leads to the decay of teeth making the mouth very sore.  Until a dental surgery is performed and the teeth can be cleaned above and below the gums as well as removing any unhealthy teeth the pain will not go away.

  1. dental-brush-paste-kitWhich is the “gold standard” of home dental care? 

Brush daily

Although feeding a dental diet, offering dental chews and using an oral rinse are all helpful in dental care, the absolute best thing you can do for your pets oral health is to brush daily!

  1. Which can be brushed off? 

Plaque

Plaque is the first build up of debris on the teeth.  Tartar is the mineralization of that debris and cannot be removed with regular brushing.

       6. How long does it take plaque to mineralize to tartar?

24 – 36 hrs   

This is the reason why brushing daily is the key to keeping teeth healthy.

        7. True or False: Hand scaling teeth on an awake patient is best.

False

Scaling teeth creates tiny microscopic grooves in the surface of the teeth.  Without polishing after scaling the grooves remain, leaving the perfect place for food and debris to continue to build up and eat away at the teeth.  Pets need to be under a general anesthetic so that scaling and cleaning of all the teeth can be done thoroughly and completely, then teeth can be polished to remove the tiny grooves created by scaling.Dent

        8. How often should a dental cleaning be performed on pets?    

Depends on the individual animal.

Some pets require regular annual cleaning, while others can go years before needing a cleaning.  Genetics plays a very large role in the health of teeth and even when the owner does everything right including brushing daily, a dental may need to be performed on a regular basis.

           9. Order the following stages of dental disease from best (0) to worst (4)DDD_dog_gum_disease

__0__ Clean, healthy teeth

__1__ Plaque accumulation

__2__ Gum inflammation (gingivitis)

__3__ Tartar build-up

__4__ Gum separation (periodontitis)

Plaque accumulation and gingivitis can occur almost simaltaneously, so if you couldn’t decide which of these two went first you are essentially correct either way.

         10. True or False: Dental disease can lead to heart and kidney disease.

True

The bacteria in the mouth that causes dental disease spreads throughout the body leading over time to heart and kidney disease.

The Results Are In…

So how did you do?  Did you learn something new?  We sure hope so!

Just like dental care is important for you, so is it for your pet.  The best you can do is work together with your veterinary team to determine what you can do to keep your pet’s oral health at its best, ultimately leading to a longer, healthier, happier life!

Jack Russell Terrier Snarling

Jack Russell Terrier Snarling — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Want more information on dental care and what is involved in a dental cleaning for your pet?  See the dental section of our website!

 

Dental Health is So Very Important

by: Meghan Eggertson

Managing dental disease is one of the most common and important ways in which we can relieve pain and suffering in pets. By the age of 3, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some degree of dental disease. The rate at which dental disease develops depends a lot on the individual animal’s confirmation and genetics; some animals can go several years without ever needing their teeth cleaned, while others need annual dentals to prevent the progression of periodontal disease.

moderate-gingivitisTeeth are held in place by the bones, ligaments, and gums surrounding them. Periodontal disease is the progressive loss or destruction of these tissues around the teeth, and can lead to infection and loss of teeth. The earliest sign of periodontal disease is gingivitis. This is inflammation of the gums caused by the body’s inflammatory response to plaque. Plaque is the biofilm of bacteria and their by-products, salivary components, and oral debris that accumulate on the teeth. It is what is removed during brushing. If not brushed off, plaque mineralizes to form tartar/calculus within about 24 – 48 hours, and this promotes the accumulation of even more plaque. Brushing does not get rid of tartar; it can only be removed by scaling. Gingivitis can be reversed with a proper dental cleaning. Just remember, if the gums are red, they are infected and painful!

DDD_dog_gum_diseaseAs the tartar continues to build up, it begins to push down between the teeth and the surrounding tissues. This weakens the bones and ligaments and causes the teeth to become loose and the roots to be exposed. At this point the affected teeth need to be extracted to prevent chronic pain and infection.  This is why it is recommended to do a dental cleaning under general anesthetic when gingivitis first becomes evident.

A dental cleaning under general anesthetic is a relatively safe and routine procedure that can be done at almost any age. We start with removing all the tartar off the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler that can clean both the crown of the tooth and below the gums. Once the teeth are clean, we are able to do a thorough exam using a dental probe to check for any pockets, root exposure, or lesions. Then radiographs (x-rays) are taken to see what the roots and surrounding periodontal structures look like. They can show us fractures, resorptive lesions, root infections, and bone loss that are under the gums and may not be evident during the exam. The teeth are all charted and the veterinarian decides if any need to be removed. Removing a tooth can be an extensive process because dog and cat teeth have much longer roots than human teeth. We start with cutting the tooth into its individual roots, then elevating each root separately to detach it fully from the ligaments and bone. The gums are sutured over the resulting opening(s). All teeth are polished and rinsed with an antiseptic solution to smooth the surface of the teeth and make it more difficult for plaque to build up again. Watch our video of a dental cleaning.

Cleaning teeth with a hand scaler on an awake patient is not recommended. The plaque and tartar under the gum line, which is what really causes the progression of periodontal disease, and on the inside surfaces is not removed. Therefor the teeth look clean, but dental disease continues to progress and the pet can still be in pain and lose teeth due to it. Scaling without polishing also creates an etched surface on the tooth so plaque accumulates more quickly and again promotes the progression of periodontal disease.

Home care is the most essential component in both preventing and treating periodontal disease. Brushing is the single most effective means of removing plaque and should be done on a daily basis. Introduce brushing to your pet gradually as early as possible since young animals are more tolerant; that being said, even older pets can learn to accept having their teeth brushed if you work on it slowly and make it enjoyable. Watch our video on how to brush your pet’s teeth.

Dental diets and chews encourage chewing and have either a texture that reduces the accumulation of dental deposits (Hills t/d, Veggident chews) or an enzyme coating that helps break down plaque (Royal Canin Dental, CET chews). We recommend a product with a VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal of approval. These diets and chews should be used in conjunction with brushing. Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse is the oral antiseptic of choice for animals. Oral rinses augment mechanical oral hygiene (ie brushing) but will not prevent gingivitis on their own. Even with proper and extensive home care, most animals will still need to have their teeth cleaned professionally (just like people!) but it will slow down the progression of dental disease and increase the time between dental cleanings.

Dental Group

Maintaining good oral health in your pet has many benefits including better smelling breath, decreased pain, and a longer lifespan. Small dogs and cats live 15-20% longer and large dogs live 10-15% longer if they receive dental care as needed throughout their life. This is because infection in the mouth may cause disease of organs throughout the body including the heart and kidneys. If you have any more questions regarding dental disease or to book an appointment for a dental exam, please contact us.

Meet Kismet…

photo3

It is always good to give back to the community and help non-profit organizations with their cause.  A few of the other clinics in Regina have been doing spays and neuters for the Regina Humane Society once they receive so many “likes” on their Facebook pages.  We like this concept and wanted to do something similar.  We have decided to give our services of spays and neuters to Bright Eyes Dog Rescue (BEDR), a local, non-profit organization who work hard to help as many dogs as they can from near and far.  We are also utilizing our Paw It Forward Fund – which thanks to generous donations of our clients has grown to over $700 in the short time since we started back in September of last year.

Meet Kismet:kismet and pups

A lovely dog from a First Nation reserve on the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border.  Kismet and her sister Faith, both had litters of pups within days of each other.  Once they were caught, BEDR took them in.  A total of 11 puppies between the two moms!  Kismet with 7 pups and Faith with 4.  Now that the pups are old enough and it has been long enough since mom has fed the babies, it was time to take care of her needs.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to the Paw It Forward Fund, Kismet had 2 broken teeth removed today- thank you again to the generous donors!  Our clinic also spayed Kismet and removed her rear dewclaws.  Kismet has been adopted and will be heading to beautiful British Columbia once she is healed from her surgeries.  Her sister Faith and a few of the pups are still in need of homes.  To inquire or learn more about these pups contact Bright Eyes Dog Rescue.

Faith

Faith

As we continue to do spays and neuters for BEDR, we won’t be looking for any additional likes on our Facebook page or anything else from our clients, we just simply ask that you spread the word about BEDR and continue to donate to our Paw It Forward Fund.

PIF image only

February is…

…Freezing cold in Saskatchewan,  seriously… freezing cold.

February is also National Pet Dental Month.  The month is dedicated to helping pet owners learn about the importance of dental care and ways to do that.  We have done a couple previous posts on various aspects of dental health and care.  This post is about how to choose the right tools to care for your pet’s teeth.  We have also included our own video on how to get your pet comfortable with having their teeth brushed, to further aid you.

kitten-with-brush

There are many items on the market that claim to improve your pet’s dental health – with one simple application.  The unfortunate part of these items is that many are about masking the problem that causes bad breath and dental decay (see our previous post on The Importance of Dental Care) .  The best option is always a preventative one; however if your pet’s teeth are already in a poor state, it is wise to contact your veterinarian to inquire about a dental treatment to get your pet’s teeth in the best possible condition, then do home care to maintain their oral health.

When it comes to choosing the tools you need for home dental care there are a few options in brush styles, toothpaste flavours and oral rinses:

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

(information provided by MyPetED.com via Idexx)

There are many variations of toothbrushes available, with the most popular being small brushes that fit comfortably in your hand, and finger toothbrushes designed to fit over the tip of your finger.  The type of toothbrush you choose depends on the size of your pet and your own dexterity.  Many pet owners find it easier to use a finger toothbrush, especially when first beginning to brush their pet’s teeth.

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Choosing Toothpaste

dental-brush-paste-kit

 It is important that you use a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for your pet, available at your veterinary clinic.   Human toothpastes can cause

stomach upset, so avoid using your own toothpaste.  If you are out of pet toothpaste, you are better off to brush with nothing.  Pet toothpaste comes in several “flavours” – vanilla mint, poultry, malt, and seafood – although many pets like the poultry and many owners like the vanilla mint, ultimately it does not matter which “flavour” you choose.

Using an Oral Rinse

oralcleansinggel

There are a couple types of oral rinses available at your veterinary clinic.  Oral rinses are a great addition to brushing and can be done once daily.  Oral rinses help to eliminate the bacteria in your pet’s mouth which also aids in fresh breath.  For some pets who really dislike having their teeth brushed you can consider using an oral rinse instead.  We strongly recommend the Maxi/Guard Oral Cleansing Gel.  It is just applied to the outside of the upper molars and then a quick cleansing action across the rest of the teeth will distribute the gel to the rest of the mouth.  You can use a toothbrush, swab or your finger to apply it.

Since it is so freezing cold out and no one wants to go out in this weather, this is a great time to teach your pet to accept getting his or her teeth brushed.  Happy Brushing!

Here is our video showing you 4 easy steps to brushing your pet’s teeth:

Thank you to Hill’s for the “Brushing in 4 easy steps” guide.

Ready… Aim… Brush!

In keeping with the theme for Animal Health Week, we bring you information on an area of preventative care that can do so much for your pet’s overall health:

Dental decay can cause bad breath and a host of other health problems for your pet. Here’s how to help everyone breathe a little easier.

dental kitten

Think for a moment what it would be like not to brush your teeth.  Ever.  Meal after meal, day after day.  Yes, there would be that initial urge to shave your tongue, but as the days wore on, the stale taste in your mouth would become more than just a nuisance.  As the condition of your teeth grew worse, you probably wouldn’t feel quite right about yourself.  You might not be able to eat all the foods you used to; hot or cold liquids could be a problem too.  You might even become a bit irritable.  Inevitably, even if they didn’t say it out loud, friends and loved ones would be thinking:  “Dog breath.”

Well, unless you are a dog, you’ll probably never have these problems.  But it happens all the time to pets.   Dental disease affects approximately 85% of pets over the age of one.  According to veterinary researches, if your dog is older than age five, there is an excellent chance (nearly nine in 10) that gum disease already has claimed some of the bone surrounding his tooth roots.  If your dog is older, and the bacteria from oral infection find their way into the blood, it could lead to complications involving the heart, liver, or kidneys.

Cats don’t get off any easier.  When they have dental problems, it’s not unusual for them to refuse to eat or drink.  And you know cats; they can keep this up until they become seriously ill.  There’s simply no way around it:  If you want a healthy pet, you can’t ignore his teeth.

Signs/symptoms your pet is suffering from periodontal disease:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Red & Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Tartar
  • Loose teeth

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Understanding Calculus

Dental problems in pets begin the same way they do for you–with plaque.  Plaque is a bacterial film that forms continually in the mouth and leads to periodontal disease, a progressive condition that marks the beginning of the end for gums and teeth.

Plaque begins with the accumulation of food particles in the narrow space where each tooth meets the gum.  As saliva and bacteria in the mouth mix with the food particles, the bacteria multiply and then die, leaving waste products in the process.  But hang on, it gets even worse.

The body responds by sending the bacteria-fighting cells to the gums, which causes them to become inflamed and to ooze chalk-like minerals.  These minerals calcify and harden into what is known as calculus.  Meanwhile, the narrow channel between tooth and gum is no longer quite so narrow because plaque and calculus (which together are known as tartar) continue to accumulate until a pocket of pus forms at the gumline.

As this cycle repeats itself, the tooth further separates from the now receding gum, creating an even larger pocket of debris.  Eventually, this uninviting miasma will become so toxic that the tissue around the tooth dies; the ligament that attaches tooth to bone separates; and the thin layer of bone that supports the tooth erodes.  Soon, the tooth will loosen and fall out.

It’s enough to make you haul off and brush your dog’s teeth right now, isn’t it?  Well, that’s precisely what all pets need.

“The thing to do for your pet is what anyone would do for himself,” says Dr. Charles Williams, a board-certified veterinary dentist in Fairfax, VA.  “You want to practice preventive health care rather than wait for an irreversible disease process.”

Dr. Williams also cautions against reacting too slowly to pet dental problems.  “Take bad breath, for instance,” he says.  “This is a sign of poor oral health, but the trouble is, if you wait until you see this sign, you already are at such an advanced state of degeneration that, for the most part, things can be just too far gone to really do a good job.

“In the past, we typically used the amount of calculus visible on the teeth as a measure of oral health.  You know: ‘do they look bad?  Do they have a heavy tartar on them?’  If the answer is no, we used to say ‘Gee, there’s no need to do anything for this dog’s mouth.’  That’s a mistake.”

Veterinarians aren’t making that mistake anymore, and there’s no reason for you to make it either.  If you take dental care seriously when your pet is young, you can prevent these problems and allow the animal to keep a full set of teeth throughout his life.  But even if the animal isn’t so young, correcting dental problems to whatever degree possible will give you a happier, healthier pet.

 Getting Good “prohy”

“I wasn’t aware that anything could be wrong with an animal’s teeth,” says Ellie Gilanshah, whose 8-year-old Maltese, Bo, receives regular dental care at Dr. William’s Blue Cross Animal Clinic.  “He’s so much better now; his teeth are clean, and he doesn’t have bad breath.  I wish I’d known about checkups and brushing when I got Bo.  Now I tell my friends about it, too.”

“Good prophy for pets should be very much like the procedures you have performed when you go to the dentist,” says Dr. B. Jean Hawkins, [past president of the American Veterinary Dental Society]: Radiographs should be taken if they’re warranted, and the gingiva should be examined under the gum line to see if calculus is there, and if the teeth are loose.  Root planning should be scaled, and polished.”

Sub gingival cleaning, or removal of debris and calculus below the gum line, is one of the most important aspects of the professional dental work-up.  As this is done, the technologist will actually plane or scrape the root of the tooth until it is clean and smooth.  Polishing not only cleans each tooth’s enamel, it makes it more difficult for plaque and calculus to reattach.  You can even request a fluoride treatment.  Your pet will have to be put under general anesthesia for these procedures.

The next step is to pick up where your veterinarian leaves off.  That means brushing all 42 of your dog’s teeth.  You lucky cat owners have only 30 teeth to brush.

“Dental care in the clinic is only as good as the follow-up care in the home,” says Dr. Peter Emily, the director of animal dentistry at Colorado State University’s College of veterinary medicine.  “If an animal has periodontal disease you can clean it up.  But if the same circumstances that led to it being there in the first place continue, he’ll end up right where he was; it’s just a matter of time.  You have to intercept this.  The home care routine will change things.”

What exactly is the home care routine?  Feeding high-quality “hard” or dry rations (and no table scraps or sweets), providing hard rubber chew toys to exercise the periodontal ligaments, and most important, cleaning the mouth and teeth by brushing.  (See the box on below)

“No matter how much or how little home care there is, there needs to be a relationship with the professional,” says dental specialist Dr. Williams.  “Home care can reduce the amount of professional care necessary, but it takes both to ensure good long-term oral health in a pet.  One of the rewarding things about specializing in dentistry as opposed to say, cancer therapy, is that we almost always help our patients.”

kitten-with-brush

Put my finger where?  A Guide to Brushing your Pet’s Teeth

Two considerations could get in the way of brushing your pet’s teeth.  Number one you don’t want to do it, and number two, your pet doesn’t want it done.  But don’t worry–you brush your own teeth, don’t you?  It’s part of your routine, and that’s how you should approach the challenge with your pet.  First of all, understand that if brushing is to be of any value to your pet, it must be done at least every other day.  Plaque mineralizes into calculus in 24 to 48 hours.

Second, try to create a habitual routine by choosing an appropriate time and place, and sticking with it–like in a comfortable chair, after you’ve both had supper, and before the evening walk, or just before a pleasant daily activity, like playing ball.  And third do your best to make brushing fun; use lots of praise.

When you come to the moment of truth–putting your fingers inside your pet’s mouth–it probably will be for just a few moments, but you can build from there.  Start slowly, merely touching the muzzle and talking to your pet to help him relax.  Your veterinarian can show you the best way to open the mouth, usually by grasping the lips toward the rear of the muzzle.  Begin handling the mouth gently, and eventually stroke the animal gums and teeth.  If you accomplish this much in the first session, you’re doing fine.

To help cats tolerate having a brush in their mouths, Dr. Peter Emily of ColoradoState suggests using the water from a water-packed can of tuna.  Just strain it, put a little on a toothbrush, and let a hungry kitten chew on it.  Later, you can switch to using a pet toothpaste.

For dogs, Dr. Emily says to “use a little warm water and garlic salt.  This taste is very palatable to a dog.  And if you take a puppy, especially a hungry puppy, and let him chew a while on a toothbrush that’s been dipped in the water and garlic salt, you’ll have the psychological lock established right away that “this tastes good… it’s OK.’ From that point on, you can start brushing.”  When you do start brushing your dog’s teeth, remember that the accumulations of plaque and calculus are greatest on the sides of a dog’s teeth facing the cheek, because this is where the salivary gland duct openings are.

When gathering the tools you’ll need, don’t reach for toothbrush or toothpaste designed for human mouths; the brush will be too large and too firm, and the paste can cause your pet stomach problems.  Your veterinarian will have the right materials to use and can show you how to use them the right way.  What’s most important is that you and your veterinarian work to establish–and then stick with — a routine.

The two biggest points to remember are:

1) If your pet’s mouth is sore or you suspect there may be a problem, DO NOT start a home dental routine. See your veterinarian first. Your pet may need professional care.

2) Training your pet to accept dental care makes all the difference.

If you are having troubles please call us 306-545-7211. No animal will naturally want you to stick things in their mouth. We have lots of tips and tricks that may help.

For more dental information see our post: The Importance of Dental Care

The Importance of Dental Care

dental-brush-paste-kitThere are many different products on the market now that claim to clean your pet’s teeth and prevent the need for a full dental under anesthetic.   Although it might visually appear to make the teeth look healthy and certainly does make the breath smell better, the problems with these products and hand scaling while awake is they do not take care of the problems that build up under the gum lines and continue to decay the tooth and the jaw.  They also do not reach all of the surfaces of the teeth that can be reached when the animal is placed under anesthetic.

Here are a few definitions regarding dental health that you should know:

Plaque is the biofilm that accumulates on teeth, composed of mucin, food residues, desquamated epithelial cells, leukocytes, bacteria and their products including mucopolysaccarides.  In short it is the film that you feel develop on your teeth when you have eaten, but haven’t brushed.  Brushing can remove plaque before it has a chance to develop into something further.

Tartar also called calculus is the hard deposit that accumulates on the teeth – it is mineralized plaque.  Tartar is the plaque that has built up over time and has hardened.

Periodontal disease is the plaque-induced inflammation of the periodontal tissues.  Tissues adjacent to, surrounding and supporting the tooth and its roots.

Scaling is the act of using an instrument called a scaler to remove the plaque and calculus from the crowns of the teeth.   There are hand scalers and ultrasonic scalers.  Some special ultrasonic scalers also remove the plaque and calculus below the gum line.  We have one of these here in the clinic.

Polishing is the act of removing the microabrasions that occur to the teeth as they are scaled.  An additional problem with hand scaling without anesthetic is that the teeth can not be polished.  Without the polishing this microabrasions create additional surfaces for plaque and tartar to build up and deteriorate the teeth.

Anatomy of a tooth

As tartar builds up on the tooth it begins to wear down on the gingiva (gums), it essentially pushes its way along the tooth between the tooth enamel and the gingiva.    As it continues it reaches the peridonatal ligament and continues to push its way down, loosening the ligament’s hold on the tooth, resulting in a loose tooth.  As it sits against the tooth it begins to decay the enamal, rotting the tooth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA dental done under anesthetic when the teeth are just dirty but not beginning to decay can prevent the need to remove teeth.  However, if a tooth is loose or rotting it needs to be removed.  Keeping teeth in like this will cause further decay in the mouth; to the gums, the teeth and even the bone within the jaw.  PLUS all the bad bacteria in the mouth can also lead to other health related issues or cause existing issues to deteriorate faster.

Once the teeth are nice and clean from a dental cleaning the best option to keep them that way is regular brushing.  With some training and practice you can make cleaning your pet’s teeth an enjoyable experience.  As part of the cost of a dental we do a follow-up with you about a week or so after the surgery.  During this follow-up a veterinary technologist will check the mouth to ensure everything has healed nicely (especially if teeth have been removed) and then go over dental care including brushing and how to start.

The link below is a wonderful blog that has great x-ray imaging of the consequences of only doing scaling while the patient is awake.  You can clearly see where not only has the tooth completely deteriorated, but so has the bone in the jaw (we have included one image from the blog for you to see).

A really good read that we strongly recommend.

Vet Dentists Blog

Dangers of anesthesia free pet dental care