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Posted on 05-12-2017
Dogs and cats sometimes need help from their humans when it comes to staying clean and healthy. A case in point is pet dental care. You and your family are conscientious about brushing and flossing your teeth (we hope!), and about going to the dentist on a periodic basis for your own deeper cleaning and to have your teeth and mouth checked by a dental professional. But your animal companion can’t brush his or her own teeth, and they can’t tell you if they have a tooth ache, so human assistance is required. Our veterinarians are proud to meet the dental needs of pets in San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and West Marin. Preserving the oral health of cats and dogs is a top priority because it makes such a profound impact on their overall quality of life and longevity.
Of course, your pet’s oral health requires attention every day. We will be happy to show you how to brush your pet’s teeth at home in between your regular pet teeth cleaning appointments at our animal dentistry facilities. It’s best to start when they are young, but never too late to get started.
But just like you and I, even if we brush every day, we still need to get our teeth professionally cleaned and evaluated every once in a while. A professional evaluation and cleaning is in order if you notice a loose or broken teeth, and redness or swelling of the gums, bad breath, or excessive accumulation of plaque and calculus.
During a dental procedure, your pet’s mouth and teeth are evaluated with the same level of detail and care that you or I would receive at the dentist. The significant difference, though, is that your pet will need to be anesthetized. It is impossible to fully evaluate a pet’s mouth and teeth without general anesthesia. In fact, veterinarians or clinics that offer “anesthesia free” teeth cleanings are ineligible for accreditation with the American Animal Hospital Association because this practice is so fraught with problems. See the American College of Veterinary Dentistry website for more information on why this practice is so detrimental to pets (http://avdc.org/AFD/).
Anesthesia, when performed by properly trained personnel and in a properly equipped hospital like our own, is actually quite a safe procedure. The risks of foregoing anesthesia and living with dental disease are far greater than the risks of anesthesia and a life with a healthy mouth and teeth.
Once your pet is safely under anesthesia, under the watchful eyes of one of our highly skilled veterinarians and highly trained technical staff the entire time, the procedure is very much like what happens to you or me in the dental chair. The teeth are scaled and polished, both above and below the gumline. All teeth are x-rayed to evaluate the health of the crown (the part you can see) as well as the health of the root and the supporting bone (the part you cannot see). The entire mouth is evaluated, all periodontal pockets are probed and cleaned, and everything is charted so we know where to focus in the future and what to watch out for.
And finally, and more advanced pathology is dealt with. If your dentist finds a problem in your mouth during a routine visit, they will schedule a time for you to come back to have it treated. Of course, we wouldn’t want your pet to have to be anesthetized a second time if we can avoid it, so our staff is prepared to deal with any problems that are discovered during the same visit. This can include things like loose or infected teeth, cavities or resorptive lesions, oral growths or tumors, and broken teeth. You would be surprised to know some of the things that some pets suffer silently with.
If you need a new Fairfax veterinarian or a San Anselmo veterinarian, the team at Fairfax Veterinary Clinic is standing by to assist you. We take pride in offering comprehensive pet teeth cleaning and oral care for each of our patients. To set an appointment for pet dental care with one of our pet dentistry professionals, give us a call today.
Have you smelled your pet’s breath lately? Our Fairfax veterinarian is curious. Tell us what it was like in the comments section below!
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The Doctors, Techs and Front Desk staff are always friendly, professional, very knowledgeable and treat my dogs with the utmost care. Their compassion and love of animals always shows forth and I would never take my dogs anyplace else for routine care. I even have the staff cut my dogs nails. I highly recommend Fairfax Veterinary Clinic.