Dental Health: The Facts!

February 13, 2017
hello world!

Most owners don’t go through with dental procedures for their pets due to fear of the unknown. Here are our most FAQ and answers to your concerns:

Are pet cleanings the same as human cleanings?
Yes, we use the same materials and do the same procedures. (Humans are a lot more cooperative though!)

Do you have to put your pet under anesthesia to clean their teeth?
Yes, putting your pet under anesthesia is the only way to do a thorough job. It is impossible to clean under the gums and perform dental xrays if the pet is awake. Similarly oral probing, an important part of our assessment is painful, especially around areas of disease, which are coming in our pet patients. 80% of dogs have peridontal disease by the age of three.

Can my pet eat and drink normally after getting a teeth cleaning or extractions?
Yes, but not straight away. Because your pet has had an anesthesia, you would want to introduce water and food slowly. We recommend offering water an hour after getting home. If this is held down, then a small amount of food can be offered an hour later. Normal eating can be expected within 24 hours. If your pet had any extractions, your pet would need to be on a strictly soft food diet for the first 14 days. This is to protect the sutures. Wet food can be offered or some warm water can be added to the pets regular kibble to soften it. We also want to avoid chewing. Once the vet has assessed the mouth following the 14 day healing period, hard food and chew toys can be reintroduced. Surprisingly, even pets that endured full mouth extractions eat dry food normally once the mouth is healed. In fact many pets eat better than before, because the painful disease has been resolved.

How do I maintain my pet’s teeth after cleaning?
After getting a dental you want to wait 14 days before doing any further prevention. The first preventative action that we recommend is teeth brushing. This should ideally be done daily. There are also dental treats and prescription diets that have specific enzymes in them that you can give your pet to help maintain their teeth. We recommend Royal Canin Dental Diet for our patients since we have seen the best results on this food. The enzymes found in the diet help to prevent calculous build up. The kibble is big and crunchy so that your pet takes time to chew. The abrasive action scratches the calculous off the tooth. Chew toys like ropes can also remove plaque before it turns into calculus. Chlorhexadine is a very effective and safe human mouth wash. We have a chew and a dental wipe that include this product. This is as close as a pet will get to gargling!

How often does my pet need to come back for follow-ups after teeth cleaning?
If your pet had extractions we do two post op checks at 3-5 days and 10-14 days. Following these check ups, or for pets that didn't require extractions, we like to assess the mouth every 6 months, just like in humans. Dental disease can develop quickly, and early intervention is important to prevent the need for extractions!

Ok, this all sounds good. So how much does it cost to get my pets teeth cleaned?
The cost varies depending on what size your pet is, or how bad your pet’s dental disease is, or if any problems are already present. Book an appointment with your veterinarian today and we can provide you with a detailed estimate before your procedure. All our dental packages include full mouth dental radiographs which are critical to assessing your pets mouth. In fact without dental radiographs, we can only assess 1/3 third of the tooth!

If extensive dental extractions are required and the cost is higher than expected we offer Care Credit, which is an interest free financing service.

When do you know to get your pet’s teeth cleaned?

The tell-tale signs are

  • Bad Breath
  • Browned teeth
  • Red or inflamed gums

Signs of severe dental disease requiring emergency attention include:

  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Swelling under the eyes
  • Difficulty eating
  • Excessive drooling

By Danielle Zaidel, Clinical Assistant at Hill's Veterinary Hospital