Why Your Pet Should Get A Dental Exam

By Nicole Abrego and Dr. Jennifer Hamlet

February is Pet Dental Health Month...has your pet had a recent oral exam? Periodontal disease is the most common infectious disease in both dogs and cats with approximately 85% of pets over 3 years of age having some level of periodontal disease. A regular dental plan including home care along with professional cleanings will help your pet’s mouth remain healthy and disease free.

Maintaining a healthy mouth throughout your pet’s life is an important part of their overall health. It should begin when they are young and be assessed annually as part of their regular health examination. Paying attention to oral health with allow early identification of disease which not only affects a pet’s mouth but their overall health. Untreated dental disease can cause inflammation in the body and leave a pet living with chronic pain. Often dental pain goes unrecognized as pet’s can’t tell us if they have pain and don’t typically stop eating because of it.

The best plan is to incorporate dental health into your pet’s regular health care plan. Expect that your pet will need to have professional cleanings throughout their lifetime and if you’re able to add in-home care you may be able to reduce the frequency of professional cleanings.

Dentistry at The Drake Center

At The Drake Center, we provide the highest quality dental care for your pet. With the use of digital x-rays, our doctors are able to see what’s going on beneath the gum line, which helps us identify dental issues that would otherwise go unnoticed.

During the dental procedure, the doctor will perform a thorough oral exam checking each tooth for injury or disease and probing along the gumline to identify areas of concern. Full-mouth x-rays are obtained and along with the physical exam findings gives us a thorough assessment of your pet’s overall oral health and allows us to communicate more thoroughly as to any additional care that may be needed.  

Once the assessment is complete, the teeth are cleaned using both hand and ultrasonic scaling, subgingival curettage, and the teeth are then polished and a fluoride treatment applied. If your pet needed any oral surgery it would be done following the cleaning.  

Dentistry is performed under general anesthesia as our pets do not allow us the necessary access to their teeth. General anesthesia is considered very safe for pets with the use of thorough monitoring and care during the procedure.  

At the Drake Center our dental team consists of three members.  Our doctor who oversees the entire procedure and will do any oral surgery and/or extractions that may be necessary.  An RVT who is a licensed veterinary nurse and highly skilled in advanced dentistry, anesthesia, as well as surgical and nursing care, and a veterinary assistant who has been extensively trained in anesthesia care and monitoring.  Their sole job is to care for your pet while under anesthesia to ensure your pet has the safest and most comfortable experience. During the procedure your pet will receive IV fluids which help to maintain hydration and help the kidneys efficiently metabolize the anesthesia, comprehensive monitoring including heart rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, capnography, and body temperature monitoring.  During recovery, your pet will continue to be monitored closely and snuggled by our caring team.

At Home Care

In-between dental visits at The Drake Center, there are various ways to promote good dental hygiene for your pet. Daily brushing of your pet’s teeth is the best way to remove plaque buildup and keep calculus away.

You can find our how-to videos on how to brush your dog’s teeth here and how to brush your cat’s teeth here. Dental toys and food are also other ways to keep your pet on a good dental hygiene plan in between professional cleanings.  

Need to schedule your pet’s dental appointment? Now’s the best time to do it! In honor of Pet Dental Health Month, receive $25 off your pet’s dental service during the month of February.  Call us today or schedule your pet’s appointment here.


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