Dental Care at Parrish Creek
Dental care is very important to us at Parrish Creek. Good oral health has been shown to increase dog's lives by as much as 2 years. Periodontal disease begins with daily accumulation of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is soft and easily removed with methods such as teeth brushing. Over time, minerals in the saliva deposit in the plaque causing tartar to form. Although tartar is mostly cosmetic, it indicates infected material is accumulating under the gumline. In addition to causing a painful mouth and bad breath, periodontal disease can allow bacteria to enter the blood stream. This continually washes organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys with bacteria and will exacerbate any existing disease. Long-term periodontal disease can cause gum and bone loss which leads to extractions and abscessed teeth.
You can slow down tartar build-up at home by regularly brushing your pet's teeth. Every day is ideal, but even a couple of times a week makes a difference.
There are many oral health dog foods available which are designed to force your pet to chew them before swallowing and scrape the teeth while being chewed. The one we carry here is called T/D made by Hill's.
OraVet is a sealant applied to the teeth after they are cleaned and is reapplied once a week at home. It creates a barrier which prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth making it much more difficult for plaque to develop. When used regularly it can greatly increase the amount of time it takes for tartar to form.
There are various chew treats made to increase oral health. The one we carry is OraVet Hygiene chews.
The VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) exists to recognize products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar) retardation in dogs and cats. Products are awarded the VOHC Seal of Acceptance following review of data from trials conducted according to VOHC protocols. The VOHC does not test products itself. Many of the above listed products have the VOHC seal of approval and more can be found on their website.
These methods slow down tartar production, and increase the length of time between needed teeth cleanings. However, you should still plan on having your pet's teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year. We will let you know at each visit when the next teeth cleaning should be done for your pet. Small breed dogs usually need their first teeth cleaning at two years and often need their teeth cleaned every six months when no prevention is done at home. Larger breed dogs usually need their first cleaning at three years. Cats and ferrets vary in how old they are before needed their first cleaning.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
There are two options available for professional teeth cleaning for dogs; non-anesthetic dental or anesthetic dental. Cats and ferrets tend not to tolerate having their teeth cleaned while awake and so an anesthetic dental is the choice for them.
Anesthetic dentals are the traditional way of cleaning pet's teeth and are required anytime a painful procedure is done (such as extractions or root canals). This procedure includes an oral exam, dental radiographs, cleaning the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler (just like the dental hygienist uses at the dentist's office), polishing with prophy paste, and probing for periodontal pockets (areas of decay around the teeth involving the gums). Dental radiographs are very valuable and give us a look at what is happening beneath the gums. Most (60%) of dental problems occur under the gums and cannot be visualized.
Additional necessary procedures can be done simultaneously when the pet is asleep, such as extractions or growth removals.
Please see our anesthesia page for more information about this part of the dental procedure.
Non-anesthetic dentals involve an oral exam, cleaning the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler (just like the dental hygienist uses at the dentist's office), polishing with prophy paste and probing for periodontal pockets (areas of decay around the teeth involving the gums). Most appointments take between 20-30 minutes. No pain control or tranquilization is done during the procedure and so only dogs with mild tartar buildup but no periodontal disease are candidates for this procedure. The advantage of non-anesthetic dental is as the name implies- no anesthetic is used. Animals with conditions such as heart disease which increase anesthetic risk are the main cases we recommend for this procedure. The disadvantage is many dental problems are missed since radiographs cannot be taken. The doctor makes the decision if your pet is eligible for a non-anesthtic dental. These procedures are done by trained professionals that see appointments at our clinic once a month. Please call us for available dates.
What to Expect
Typically pets are dropped off between 8-9 am Monday-Friday for anesthetic dentals. This gives us time to weight them and calculate their dosages accordingly, as well as perform any other needed services (such examinations or bloodwork). The dental procedures are done between 10-1 pm. A technician will call you once the procedure is completed to assure you all is well with your pet and to set up a pick-up time. Pick up times are usually between 4-5:30pm, although in some cases they are ready to go home earlier. We will do our best to find a time that works for you.
When you pick up your pet, a technician will go over the procedure with you as well as any special concerns that may have come up, going home instructions and the invoice. They will answer all of your questions and make sure you are comfortable with any home care recommended (such as brushing the teeth or giving medication). A complimentary dental care kit will be sent home with you which includes samples of a toothbrush, toothpaste, T/D food, CET Hextra chew treat, information about OraVet, and written instructions on brushing the teeth at home.
For non-anesthetic dentals, drop off time is usually by 1pm. Although you may prefer to wait for your pet since the procedure only takes 20-30 minutes.
Our doctor and technicians receive ongoing training in the special care and treatment of dental disease. Please call us for more information or to make an appointment.