Why does my pet need a dental?
Gingivitis ( inflammation of the gums), infection in the mouth and fractured teeth are all painful conditions. Having gum recession around teeth as your pet’s oral health deteriorates is the equivalent of an open wound in the mouth. Toothache and mouth pain is not pleasant as anyone who has experienced these for themselves will testify.
But he’s still eating?
Dogs and cats often do not show pain like we do. Survival is built into their very genetic makeup. They eat because they know instinctively that if they do not eat they will die. So if an animal is not eating due to dental disease basically the pain is so bad that they would rather die than suffer the pain. Make no mistake about it; they feel the pain, they just don’t show it.
Can’t you just crack the tartar off?
Cracking tartar from teeth manually by hand causes more pain and discomfort for your pet because the tartar actually extends under the gumline. In fact, a large component of the tartar is under the gums and so hand cracking of tartar is very ineffective as it leaves large amounts behind unseen beneath the gums.
Can’t you do the dental without a general anesthetic?
A dental treatment has to be done under a general anaesthetic for 4 main reasons-
- The welfare of your pet ( minimize pain inflicted on an already painful mouth),
- To facilitate a thorough examination of the oral cavity including dental xrays if indicated
- To thoroughly descale and polish both above and below the gum line & perform any other procedures required
- the safety of the veterinary staff
But aren’t general anaesthetics dangerous?
Anaesthetic techniques have improved considerably over recent times. All animals having a general anaesthetic receive a thorough physical examination & we recommend a pre anaesthetic blood screen prior to any general anaesthetic. Intravenous fluids during the procedure are advisable to maintain blood pressure and optimal blood flow to the major organs. We use advanced methods of monitoring including pulse oximetry, respiratory monitoring and blood pressure readings to minimize anaesthetic complications and as such these are uncommon and very rarely fatal.
I hate going to the dentist, I don’t want it to be unpleasant/ painful for my pet
There are 3 levels of pain relief available to all our patients. Firstly a sedative/ analgesic combination is given at least 30 minutes prior to anaesthetic induction as a premed . Once unconscious we then administer local anaesthetic blocks If teeth are to be extracted.Finally, an injection is given post operatively and the pet is sent home with pain relief medication if a longer duration of action is required.
Dental health plays a very important role in the overall health and wellbeing of our pets. Aside from the obvious welfare issues relating to the pain suffered from dental disease, untreated problems and infections in the mouth can progress to major complications such as loss of jaw bone, systemic infection, heart valve disease and kidney disease. Early detection and prompt management along with effective preventative measures really can save our pets lives.