Blog- Dentals- what to know

Did you know that February at Kern Road Veterinary Clinic is Dental Awareness month? I know what you’re thinking. That your pets don’t need dentals. As my father would say “in the wild dogs/cats/horses don’t get dentals”. The medical and veterinary fields have come very far from the “wild” days. In truth, dental care for your pets is really important!

Think about how often you brush and floss your own teeth. Most people will brush 1-2 times a day. Then think about when you go in for a dental cleaning. They are still picking plaque and build up off of your teeth, (and in my case yelling at me for not flossing). Now think of your pet’s teeth. They probably don’t have someone brushing and flossing their teeth 1-2 times a day. Plaque and build up occurs in your pets’ teeth just as it does in ours! So when left for years, this build up can lead to gum disease and rot. Once gum disease starts, it can also lead to pain for your pet. The crunchy food or treats they used to love so much could now be a source of discomfort for them. Good news is there is help to be found! We can perform dental procedures on pets to clean, polish and remove rotten teeth if necessary.

Many people can be leery of getting a dental procedure for their pet because they don’t really know what happens. I know the first time Dr. Beach told me Elliot (my dog) should probably get a dental, it took me a few days to finally admit that maybe he did! His breath had been awful for the previous few months and I could see some brown build up near his gum line on his canines. I never thought of myself as a nervous pet parent- until NOW! Elliot had luckily already been neutered by the time he arrived in my life so this would be the first “surgery” he and I would undergo. As I began to choose a day for his procedure, I was just so nervous! While I am not an assistant or technician who actually sees/treats patients, I do have to walk past surgery tables and get to see the action. I have always loved that part of my job. I love to learn and love the science behind most of their procedures. It wasn’t the science of it that I was struggling with- it was that I would have to see my beloved Elliot under anesthesia and that sight just made me nervous thinking about it. I eventually decided that I would do like all of the other patients we perform dentals on- I wouldn’t be here. I scheduled it for one of my days off and picked Elliot up at the end of the day. And he did great! Beyond a little shaved spot on his leg, much more pleasant breath and squeaky clean teeth, Elliot was back to his crazy self!

Dental procedures for your cat or dog are very similar to what you and I go through when we go to the dentist with one exception-pets are placed under anesthesia. It’s hard to tell a cat or dog to open wide and say “ahh”. For this reason, we put them under anesthesia. Blood work is performed, as we would do before any surgery to make sure your pet is healthy enough to under go anesthesia. Your pet will be on IV fluids and be monitored throughout the entire dentistry. Once the dental is completed, we monitor them to make sure they wake up without a problem, and then they are good to go home! Dentals are usually an out-patient procedure.

If cost is a concern for you- during the month of February, all small animal dental procedures receive 10% off their dentistry! If you have an equine companion, all haul-in dental procedures receive 15% off their dentistry! You can also enroll in a wellness plan to help spread the cost of the dental and all other preventative care throughout the course of the year Have any further questions regarding dental procedures- just give us a call! We’d be more than happy to help!

~Written by: Kelly Proctor