Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. Over 68% of all dogs over the age of three are estimated to have some form of periodontal or dental disease.
Few pets show obvious signs of dental disease. It is up to the pet's family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.
The goal of Dental Services at Michigan City Animal Hospital is to ensure for your pet a healthy mouth - free from disease, infection, or pain. Oral health increases your pet's well being, adds to his longevity.
Performed as a part of our thorough exams, the oral exam evaluates tooth position, cleanliness, jaw alignment and disease, as well as disorders of the gums and tongue. Some conditions of the mouth alert us to potentially serious metabolic diseases such as kidney or liver disease, diabetes or blood disorders.
A routine dental cleaning includes further examination of the mouth and teeth, followed by a dental scaling and polishing to remove the tartar and invisible plaque from all of the tooth surfaces. Our veterinarians will perform pre-anesthetic blood tests to ensure that kidney and liver function are satisfactory for anesthesia. Sometimes antibiotic treatment is started before the periodontal therapy is performed. Our doctors will discuss the specific pre-dental recommendations for your pet.
Once your dog is anesthetized, the doctor will thoroughly examine the mouth, noting the alignment of the teeth and the extent of tartar accumulation both above and below the gumline. If periodontal disease is severe, it may not be possible to save badly affected teeth, which may need to be extracted.
Next, tooth scaling will be performed using both traditional hand scalers and ultrasonic cleaning equipment to remove all traces of tartar, both above and below the gum line. The tartar below the gum line causes the most significant gum recession and it is extremely important that it is removed thoroughly.
After scaling, the teeth are polished to remove microscopic scratches in order to help prevent subsequent plaque build-up. Special applications such as fluoride, antibiotic preparations and cleaning compounds may be indicated to decrease tooth sensitivity, strengthen enamel, treat bacterial infection and reduce future plaque accumulation.
The procedures that your pet may require will be discussed with you before your pet's dental cleaning. Since it can be difficult to predict the extent of dental disease in advance of the procedure, it is imperative that our staff be able to reach you during the procedure to discuss any additional treatment that may be necessary.
Next the tartar and plaque are removed from the surfaces of the teeth and under the gumline with an ultra-sonic tip. Polishing is performed on every tooth surface with a slow speed polisher and mild pumice. This delays the additional accumulation of plaque and tartar on the clean teeth by removing rough spots that collect debris. The last step is the application of fluoride that reduces sensitivity of the teeth and strengthens them. Antibiotics may be prescribed if there have been extractions or if infections were detected.
Dental x-rays are often needed to accurately evaluate a pet's teeth. We have specialized dental x-ray equipment, which allows us to take the most accurate x-rays possible.
A diseased tooth results in infection and pain for your pet. If repair of the tooth is not possible or desired, extraction will bring relief.
Whether due to trauma or bone disease, most oral fractures need treatment. Depending on the type of fracture and location, treatment options include muzzling, wiring, pinning, intra-oral splints or bone surgery.
The most common dental problems seen in dogs are caused by periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a term used to describe inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. Accumulation of tartar and calculus on the teeth causes gum recession around the base of the tooth. Infection soon follows and the gums recede further, exposing sensitive unprotected tooth root surfaces and the bony tooth sockets Left untreated, the infection spreads deep into the tooth socket, destroying the bone. Ultimately, the tooth loosens and falls out. As an alternative to extraction, periodontal surgery may increase the functional life of a tooth if the pet's owner is willing to participate in home care.
Root canal treatment will help preserve a tooth that has lost vital blood supply, is infected or is broken. Such treatment will preserve most functions of the tooth and maintain the pet's appearance.
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