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Proper dental care plays a critical role in a pet’s overall comfort and heath. A build-up of plaque contains thousands of bacteria that can enter the pet’s bloodstream and lead to heart, kidney and liver disease, and infected teeth are painful. It is amazing how quickly tartar can collect in your pet’s mouth, particularly on their back teeth. During exams the doctor will check your pet’s mouth for signs of dental disease. They will determine what grade of dental disease your pet has. The grades are numbered one to four, and are determined by the following criteria:
Grade 1 – Gingivitis
Margin of attached gingiva (gum) is inflamed and swollen. Some plaque is present. Treatment can reverse this condition.
Grade 2 – Early Periodontitis
Entire attached gum is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor begins to be noticeable. Professional treatment and home dental care can prevent this from becoming irreversible.
Grade 3 – Moderate Periodontitis
Cherry red and bleeding attached gum is being destroyed by infection and calculus (tartar). Sore mouth affects eating and behavior. Bad breath is present. Beginning of the loss of tooth attachment. This may become irreversible.
Grade 4 – Advanced Periodontitis
Chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gum, tooth and bone. Bacteria may be spreading throughout the entire body via the bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver and heart.
If your pet is diagnosed with dental disease the doctor will recommend a dental cleaning. Depending on the grade of dental disease, there may also be dental x-rays needed and infected teeth may be extracted. Because general anesthesia is required, for the safety of your pet we recommend they have pre-anesthetic blood work done prior to surgery. The blood work checks the liver, kidneys and other body system function to help determine the safest anesthetic protocol for your pet.
Once the procedure has been scheduled the staff will go over pre-surgical instructions with you. These include:
- No food after 8:00 p.m. the night prior to surgery, but water should be available.Drop off the morning of the procedure at a previously scheduled time, allowing 15-20 minutes for check-in.
- When you arrive at the hospital the morning of the dental cleaning, one of our Client Service Representatives will ask a few basic questions and then escort you and your pet into an exam room. The surgery nurse will discuss the procedure, review the treatment plan and answer any questions you may have.