1) How often should my pet's teeth be cleaned?
This is going to vary depending on the patient and the amount of periodontal disease. Based on a recent publication, the recommendation would be every 6-12 months for healthy mouths, every 6 months for patients with gingivitis, every 3-6 months in patients with periodontitis, and monthly until controlled in patients with active periodontal disease.
2) Why is there so much variability in the cost to have my pet's teeth cleaned?
You should ask your veterinarian what is involved with your pet's dental procedure. Is gas anesthesia used? Is an endotracheal tube placed to help your pet breath? Is preanesthetic blood work performed? Are IV fluids administered? Are vital signs monitored by a technician? Are electronic vital sign monitors used and what vital signs are monitored. Are intraoral radiographs (x-rays) performed? Has any formal training been given to the person cleaning the teeth? Is the person focused on the procedure also monitoring the patient for anesthetic problems? Is a dental chart completed? Are the gums probed around the teeth? Are the teeth scaled, but not polished? Is a doctor involved in the procedure? Each question that is answered with a "yes" will not only increase the cost of the procedure, but it will also increase the safety, lessen the risk of anesthetic complications and help better diagnose dental disease.
3) Why does my pet's breath smell bad so quickly after the teeth were cleaned?
The most common reason for this is missed periodontal disease. Bone loss around the tooth roots can cause pockets that will allow certain types of bacteria to grow that are responsible for bad breath. Not only do they produce bad breath, but they also responsible for continued destruction of the bone and tissue around the tooth. Intraoral radiographs and a good periodontal examination will usually locate these problem areas.
4) Does my pet have to be asleep for you to work on the teeth?
Yes. There are some that claim anesthesia is an unnecessary risk for pets and the dental procedures can be performed effectively with light sedation (anesthesia-free dentistry). It is impossible to perform a thorough oral evaluation and take intraoral radiographs (x-rays) in an awake pet. Anesthesia-free dentistry make make your pet's teeth appear clean on the surface, but the real problems are below the gumline. Subgingival (below the gumline) scaling cannot be properly performed without anesthesia. The American Veterinary Dental College, and the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia have all made statement against "anesthesia-free" dentistry.
5) Is anesthesia safe for my pet?
In general anesthesia is very safe when used appropriately. There are always risks involved with anesthesia, but they are very small in healthy patients. Each patient is evaluated prior to anesthesia to evaluate the risk involved during the procedure and to customize the anesthesia protocol for your particular patient. Our patients are constantly monitored during the procedure by a doctor, technician and electronic monitoring devices that measure blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation, end-tidal CO2, ECG, and respiration.
6) What are the steps that we perform to clean your pet's teeth?
Veterinary Dental Center of Tulsa’s Steps for a Comprehensive Oral Health Evaluation and Treatment
7) What kind of patient support is provided while my pet is under anesthesia?
Beside the monitoring by a doctor and technician, your patient is connected to electronic monitors that measure blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation, end-tidal CO2, ECG, and respiration. Patients are also given IV fluids and their body temperature is maintained using a heated air blanket. The constant monitoring allows us to quickly recognize and address potential problems during the anesthesia.
8) My dog broke a tooth. Is it painful and what are the treatment options?
Broken teeth are very common in dogs and cats and they can be very painful, but it is rare that your notice your dog displaying any signs of pain. There are different types of tooth fractures and each type had different treatment options from extraction to root canal therapy. If the pulp is exposed then extraction or endodontic treatment are required. The pulp is the inside of the tooth that contains the blood vessels and nerves. A tooth with pulp exposure may have a red spot or a bleeding surface on the fractured tooth or it may just look like a black dot. A fractured tooth that has only exposed the dentin underneath the outer enamel surface may still be very painful and could lead to an abscessed tooth. The recommended treatment is to place a sealant on the exposed dentin to reduce sensitivity and to protect the pulp from bacterial that could migrate through tubules in the dentin that are connected to the pulp.
9) Do you put braces on pet's teeth?
Every dog deserves a comfortable bite. Orthodontic movement of teeth may be an option. Dogs can have painful malocclusions that can cause pain every time they chew or the malocclusion may damage other teeth or lead to future periodontal disease. Many orthodontic problems are genetic and spaying/neutering your pet are recommended to prevent passing the problem to the offspring. Orthodontic procedure can have a lot of complications in pets and often there are other treatment option for malocclusions.