Most people are aware if their pet’s breath has begun to smell bad, but most pets are good about hiding any other evidence of dental disease. Although, we always recommend good dental hygiene at home, during routine visits our doctors will do their best to examine your pet’s mouth for signs of disease and may recommend that your pet have a Complete Oral Health Assessment and Treatment. During the procedure, your pet will be anesthetized, have a complete set of dental x-rays taken, and have their teeth professionally scaled and polished. Minor oral surgical procedures can be done at our office if needed, including surgical extractions of diseased or fractured teeth. Major oral procedures including root canal treatments can be done by a board certified veterinary dentist with a referral from our office.
- Dental Care
- Dental X-rays
Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT)
Oral health is one of the areas in which veterinary medicine has grown the most over the past twenty years. We have become much more pro-active in promoting good oral hygiene in dogs and cats, and in recognizing and treating periodontal disease. In an ideal world, we would all have pets that would allow us to brush their teeth, and we would all take the time to brush their teeth several times a week.
Here is a link to a video demonstrating how to brush dog and cat teeth:
However, we fully realize that the ideal is not always achievable. When we perform annual physical exams on your pet, we are usually able to take a good look at their teeth (sometimes they won’t let us). Based on this examination, we may recommend a COHAT for your pet (scheduled separately). This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Once under anesthesia, we are able to evaluate each tooth for the presence of tartar and calculus (mineralized tartar), gingival recession, deep gingival pockets, mobility, and tooth resorption lesions (common in cats). The teeth are scaled with an ultrasonic scaler, and full-mouth radiographs (x-rays) are taken. Oral radiographs help us evaluate the health of the teeth roots and the bone around the teeth. It is not uncommon for us to discover sub-gingival disease on radiographs that we could not see otherwise. As a result, we don’t always know what we are going to find when we perform a COHAT, and therefore, we can’t always predict how long the procedure will take. The procedure takes about 1 hour if there are no extractions necessary. However, if we find diseased teeth that require extraction, the procedure can take up to 2-3 hours, depending on which and how many teeth require extraction. There are some dogs and cats that require extraction of multiple teeth.