The veterinarians at Willamette Valley Animal Hospital believe that the most under utilized of veterinary service is dentistry. Most owners only rarely look at their pet’s teeth, and even fewer perform routine at-home dental care to prevent disease.
It is clear that many chronic conditions in older dogs happen or are worsened by dental disease. Over the years, tartar and calcium based calculus build up on teeth, causing progressive gum irritation, then gum disease. Infection of the mouth can start as early as one year of age in some pets, and progresses over time to tooth loss, but also bacterial infection showering to the blood and subsequently to the major organs as well. It is well known that conditions such as heart valve infections are primarily caused by mouth infections, and often lead to valve leakage and eventual heart failure in older dogs. Tooth infections also shower the kidneys with bacteria that can damage them and lead to kidney failure. These infections also can go to the liver, and cause liver cellular damage.
So routine dental home care and periodic professional cleaning won’t just make your pet’s breath smell better, it can help him to live longer and be happier, and certainly avoid tooth root abscesses that are extremely painful. The first step is the annual examination to monitor dental health, then learn more about home care from our veterinarians or staff.
The staff at Willamette Valley Animal Hospital perform routine dental prophylaxis under general anesthetic. While sedated we clean, polish and seal your pets teeth; assessing for infected or bad teeth that should be removed. We use a dental radiograph to ensure all roots are healthy. If extractions are necessary, multi-modality pain medication will be given to your pet, local nerve blocks (freezing), and pain medication and antibiotics to go home. Because most of our dental patients are mature or older individuals, we require pre-operative blood screening before general anesthesia. If it is anticipated that the procedure will be a long one, we will make recommendations for intravenous fluid support through the procedure for the benefit of your pet.