Periodontal disease (gum disease) is very common in cats and dogs. It is the result of the accumulation of plaque and bacteria on the tooth surface that then progresses to irritate the surrounding gingiva. This eventually leads to infection and destruction of the structures that sit beneath the gumline, including the periodontal ligament, tooth roots, and the bone surrounding the tooth itself. If left untreated, dental disease serves as a chronic source of infection and discomfort. Dental health is an important factor in the overall systemic health of your pet over the course of his/her lifetime. A complete oral examination is performed with each physical exam. Your doctor will recommend a plan for preventative care and make recommendations for a dental cleaning or additional care if appropriate.
During a dental cleaning, our patients are placed under general anesthesia. An anesthesia technician provides comprehensive monitoring throughout the procedure. Survey digital dental radiographs are performed to allow assessment of the roots of each tooth, evaluating for damage beneath the gumline and for the presence of tooth root abscesses. Four quadrant nerve blocks are performed to provide effective pain management should any extractions be required. A thorough scaling and polishing is performed, along with any necessary extractions of the infected teeth. We work to keep our patients as comfortable as possible during the procedure itself and at home while recovering. Your doctor will make recommendations for the long term management of your pet’s dental health!
For more information on pets and periodontal disease go to www.vohc.org.