February is National Pet Dental Month, which is important because good oral hygiene has been associated with longer lifespans in pets. Since dogs and cats, being primarily carnivores, don’t usually have a problem with cavities, it’s understandable that pet owners assume all is well with their furry friend’s oral health.
However, the potentially alarming issue is periodontal disease, which causes pain and infection in and around the teeth. In that case, a procedure called a dental prophy may be necessary to prevent further damage to a pet’s health and longevity.
Why do a dental prophy?
The first reason to do a dental prophy is to relieve pain and infection. Another secondary benefit is to decrease the chance that a pet’s mouth becomes the doorway for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and infect other organs, such as the kidney, heart, liver, etc.
Infrequent tooth brushing, while mildly helpful, will not prevent periodontal disease. Plaque only needs four days to take hold. After four days, it’s cemented on the teeth along with anaerobic bacteria, and no amount of brushing will remove it. And once the gums become reddened from infection, brushing will actually be detrimental and painful.
Dental prophys are scheduled for the day after your pet has been on a water-only 12-hour fast. Your vet will do blood work to make sure your pet’s liver, kidneys, and blood cells are functioning normally. Your pet will then be anesthetized and monitored on 100% oxygen while the dental prophy and cleaning is performed.
The procedure involves breaking off large bits of plaque with an instrument, then using a high speed ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque in and around the base of the teeth, and finally polishing to eliminate any areas where plaque might take hold. A fluoride treatment will be applied, and pets receive pain relief medication and a course of antibiotics.
At PetWellClinic®, we are strong believers in providing dental care for your pets. While we focus on wellness preventative care and not surgical care, the veterinarians at PetWellClinic® are equipped to examine your pet’s mouth to determine if consulting with a full-service veterinarian hospital is recommended. We are happy to forward our findings to your regular vet, or can refer you to Dr. Sam Meisler’s My Pet’s Animal Hospital — which partners with to PetWellClinic® — should a full dental prophylaxis and tooth extractions need to be considered.
Through the month of February, My Pet’s Animal Hospital offers an annual dental special of $100 off prophylaxis procedures. (Offer good at My Pet’s Animal Hospital only.)
Keeping your pet’s mouth free of periodontal disease is our goal at both My Pet’s Animal Hospital and PetWellClinic®. Examining dental health is one of the main well-care services provided by the vets at PetWellClinic®. By operating convenient hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for wellness exams, treatment of minor issues such as skin conditions, and low-cost vaccinations and parasite preventative products.
We offer quick in-and-out service during convenient evening and weekend hours with no appointment necessary. PetWellClinic® has three locations: 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922; 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919; and 228 S. Calderwood Street, Alcoa, TN 37701. Learn more about how PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for affordable, top quality pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.