Woodside Veterinary Clinic

Dentistry

 

Oral disease is the most common disease that we see in our patients.  The studies show that 80% of dogs and cats over the age of three years have dental disease.  But it can be difficult for our owners to appreciate this because their pets most often hide their symptoms. They will continue to eat even though they feel pain or discomfort.
It is important to address this issue of oral health because the bacteria in our pets' mouths (as well as our own) have easy access to the bloodstream through the gums and leave the patient susceptible to infection not only in their mouths but in their livers, kidneys and heart.

What can you do:
Train your pet to be accustomed to having its mouth handled.  With  kittens  and pups this task is easier.  But for all ages go slowly. Start by just lifting a lip and giving a reward.  Progress to the point that you can lift the lips up all around the mouth.   Look for redness or swelling.  Be aware of foul odor or a colored tinge to the saliva.

What can we do:
At the very least we treat the teeth to make them white like these.

                       

Pre oral assessment, therapy and prevention                                       Post oral ATP       


We also alleviate bad breath by removing the bacteria  that cause the odor and reside in the calculus and plaque. 
It is a multi step process to clean the teeth.  First we lavage (flush) superficial bacteria from the mouth.  This helps to decrease the bacterial burden in the mouth.  We probe around the teeth and under the gum line, clean above and below the gum line, polish, flush under the gum line, apply fluoride, and take x rays as indicated, to name just a few of the procedures.


In cases where the x ray shows that at least 50% of the bone is still present we can do periodontal surgery to deeply clean around the tooth.  When there is not enough bone, or in a patient that will not tolerate follow up care at home we will need to extract the tooth.  This is done with multimodal pain management with the expectation that our patient is happy to eat when it goes home that night.


In cats the more common problem that we see is a tooth resorption.  This is a cavity at the gum line that is so painful that the patient will often flinch when we probe the tooth even while she/he is under the anesthetic.  In most cases the tooth will need to be extracted because if left on its own the crown of the tooth will eventually break off leaving the exposed pulp and causing further pain.  

                                                                                      
Dr. Clemens has had extensive training and years of practice to be able to offer these state of the art therapies.

How we can help you:
We are only too happy to teach you how to brush your pet's teeth.  This is the best way to keep the teeth clean and it usually takes no more than 30 seconds to do the entire mouth.  If this is out of the question, there is Oravet, a weekly dental sealant that we can teach you to use.  There are also dental diets and treats that we can offer you.
Visit Cornell University's Partner's in Animal Health website to see a video on how to brush your cat's teeth.
www.partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/pet/fhc/brushing_teeth

And here is a site for dogs:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsNlLLSBWLU

 

A Word about Anesthesia Free Dentistry

Don’t do it!

Anesthesia free dentistry capitalizes on owners’ fear of anesthesia.  But anesthesia is safer today than it has ever been and the risks associated with dental disease far outweigh complications associated with a short term anesthetic procedure.   

Beyond that one cannot do a thorough or even adequate dental cleaning without anesthesia.  Here is a tooth fracture of an upper incisor (front tooth) that no one could see until this patient was lying on his back under anesthesia.   

Many other conditions are easily missed  during anesthesia free dentistry such as disease that is  located on the inside (near the palate or tongue) of the tooth.  And  since the teeth are not charted with records kept of pocket depth and other lesions, by the time the patient is presented to us we are faced with performing multiple extractions.

Lastly, it is illegal.

 

“Dental Regulations" (Practice of veterinary medicine defined)

Regulations regarding who can perform dental procedures

2037. Dental Operation, Defined.

The term "dental operation" as used in Business and Professions Code section 4826 means:

(1) The application or use of any instrument or device to any portion of an animal's tooth, gum or any related tissue for the prevention, cure or relief of any wound, fracture, injury or disease of an animal's tooth, gum or related tissue; and

(2) Preventive dental procedures including, but not limited to, the removal of calculus, soft deposits, plaque, stains or the smoothing, filing or polishing of tooth surfaces.

(3) Nothing in this regulation shall prohibit, however, any person from utilizing cotton swabs, gauze, dental floss, dentifrice, toothbrushes or similar items to clean an animal's teeth….

 

Section 4826, Business and Professions Code. Practice of veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry, Defined.

Any person practices .. dentistry, … when he or she does any one of the following:

 (a) Represents himself or herself as engaged in the practice… of veterinary dentistry in any of its branches.

 (b) … prescribes an …appliance, application, or treatment of whatever nature for the prevention, cure … of disease of animals.

 (c) Administers appliance, application, or treatment of whatever nature for the prevention of … disease of animals, except where the drug, medicine, appliance, application, or treatment is administered by a registered veterinary technician or an unregistered assistant at the direction of and under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian subject to Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 4832).

(d) Performs a surgical or dental operation upon an animal.”