Dentistry FAQ

Why should you care about your pets teeth?

Almost half of dogs and cats have at least one painful dental problem by the time they reach 5 years of age.  Dental disease is painful! Can you imagine how painful your mouth would be if you didn’t brush your teeth for 3 years (the equivalent of your dog or cat getting a dental once a year)?  In addition, periodontal disease (one of the most common dental problems in animals) has been shown to be associated with pathological changes in the heart, liver, and kidney.  In humans, dental disease has also been shown to make diabetes more difficult to regulate.  Finding and treating these painful disease processes can result in a healthier and happier dog or cat.  Many owners report after their pet has been properly treated for dental disease that they suddenly act like a puppy/kitten again!!!

Why does my pet need a dental if they are still eating normally and not acting painful?

A wild dog or cat is not programmed to show signs of pain or weakness.  If they did show these signs then they are moved down the hierarchy ladder or singled out by larger prey. Similarly, our domesticated pets will never show signs of pain until it is severe because they are genetically programmed to not show signs of pain just like their wild ancestors.   By the time your pet is actually visibly showing you signs of pain, the disease has been going on for years.  They usually show signs of pain very gradually so owners frequently associate the signs with “just getting older”.  This is why when dental disease is treated correctly owners notice a rapid improvement in the pet’s attitude, activity, and demeanor!

Why is it more expensive for my peEditt to have a dental than me?

There are many reasons for this.  The most obvious reason is their dental disease is usually much more progressed than our dental disease.  As mentioned above, can you imagine all the problems with your teeth if you never brushed your teeth and only went to your dentist every 3 years?  This is the equivalent to what happens with most of our pets!  A very good dental cleaning and polishing takes at least 45 minutes and longer if additional disease is present (which is the case most of the time).  Pets also do not allow us to clean their teeth properly without being under anesthesia.

Do you recommend “anesthesia free dentals”?

The simple truth to the answer is no, because there is no such thing that is of benefit to your pet!!!  If anyone ever tells you they can clean your pets teeth without anesthesia, then you should turn around and go somewhere else.  Not only is it impossible to properly clean and treat (read our 12 step dental process) your pets teeth and subgingiva (the space under the gums where most of the disease is), if someone tries to do this they will likely worsen the disease as no dog or cat would tolerate this awake if done properly.  Even the best trained dog would still resist this due to discomfort and pain.  The only thing that one can do safely without anesthesia is remove large tartar chunks off the teeth.

While removing the tartar on the surface of the tooth (supragingival) makes the mouth look better it does NOT treat the more serious disease process (periodontal disease – infection under the gums).  This is why your pets bad breath will return very quickly without a proper dental procedure to clean out the space under the gums. Similarly, if they are not polishing the teeth (which most awake dogs will not tolerate) immediately after wards this will actually cause more tartar to return faster than previously.  After cleaning the tooth the enamel has a very rough surface that makes it very easy for bacteria and plaque/tartar to adhere to it.  Polishing turns the rough porous surface into a nice smooth glass like surface that makes it more difficult for the bacteria and plaque/tartar to adhere to the tooth.   In places like Canada, where they actually have better medical (human and veterinary) laws, it is illegal and malpractice to do such procedures!!!