Periodontal disease is a common condition affecting dogs and cats over the age of 3 years, and will worsen if preventive measures are not taken. When plaque and tartar move below the gumline, they can cause resorptive lesions, damage the jawbone and connective tissues causing oral pain, and provide access for infection to travel through the body affecting other organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart.
Dr. Hay will check your pet’s oral health during the annual exam to detect any problems and provide insight on clues that may indicate your pet has oral discomfort, such as: bad breath, drooling, dropping food, bleeding or swelling. If necessary, a dental prophylaxis will be scheduled, which may include an x-ray to see what is happening below the gumline.
A prophylaxis includes a thorough cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, and possibly extractions, plus polishing teeth. More extensive dentistry could include filing or repair and adjustment of your pet’s teeth, as well as other aspects of oral health care.
Naturally, our pets do not understand why these things need to be done and will react, even with local pain meds, by trying to flee and even bite. To alleviate their stress and pain and to prevent injury to themselves, your pet will be sedated. This will also allow for better cleaning and x-ray results since your pet will be quite still. Don’t worry, your friend will be evaluated prior to the procedure to ensure anesthesia is safe to administer, and will likely go home with you the same day, although may seem a little woozy for the rest of the day.