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Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Dental Care

Why is dental health important?

A fantastic question. Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. Good dental health promotes pain-free eating as well as keeping your pet’s breath fresh. Did you know that studies have shown that the bacteria shown to cause valvular disease in the human heart are the same bacteria found in the mouth?

What is the price of the dental and what does it include?

The cost of a dental cleaning is $335. The price includes IV fluids to maintain appropriate blood pressure throughout the anesthesia. It includes the anesthesia and the dental cleaning, where we scale and polish your pet’s teeth. Also included in the price is radiographs of the mouth, because 2/3 of the tooth is found below the gumline. Lastly, it includes a pain injection and Class IV therapy laser to reduce the inflammation that occurs when we clean the teeth.

What does the price not include?

The price of the dental does not include the veterinarian’s initial examination of your pet’s mouth. We perform this examination in order to provide you with an estimate for your pet’s dental procedure. It allows us to identify fractures, loose teeth, gum disease, and more so that we are able to discuss what we expect to happen during the dental cleaning. The price does not include extracting teeth or sending home medications if they are deemed necessary. However, by performing that examination, we can more accurately prepare an estimate for what your particular pet’s dental procedure should cost.

Why do we have to do bloodwork for the procedure?

The bloodwork that we perform prior to the procedure is similar to those in people. It is our best way to ensure the kidneys and liver are capable of processing anesthesia. Bloodwork can be performed up to 30 days prior to the procedure.

Why do we have to do a predental exam?

We perform an examination in order to provide you with an estimate for your pet’s dental procedure. It allows us to identify fractures, loose teeth, gum disease, and more so that we are able to discuss with you what we expect to happen during the dental cleaning and the associated cost of the procedure.

Can we do the procedure without anesthesia?

We understand your concern and we share it. Unfortunately, we cannot expect our pets to sit still with their mouth open for a dental cleaning. For this reason, anesthesia becomes necessary for both patient comfort and to facilitate the most efficient cleaning procedure. However, anesthesia drugs are safer than ever, and we aim to keep your pet’s anesthesia time to a minimum. In addition, we have sophisticated monitoring equipment that helps us identify problems early and correct them quickly.

Why does my dog/cat have to have extractions?

If your pet has a fractured or infected tooth, they are often a source of pain. Signs of this might be trouble eating, food dropping from the mouth, or even crying when you touch his or her face. Pets are often so good at masking pain that they rarely show signs until it is too late for the tooth to be saved. No tooth will be extracted until you have spoken to the doctor and have given authorization.

Will my pet be able to eat after having teeth extracted?

Yes. Your pet should be able to resume eating soon after his or her dental cleaning. We recommend offering 1/3 of their regular diet the evening of the procedure, and then another 1/3 if they are still hungry. Just like people, anesthesia can take 24 to 48 hours to completely clear the system, and has been known to upset the stomach. When your pet has had extractions, we will discuss which teeth and where they were taken from. In some cases, it will be best to feed your pet canned food for a few days before gradually reintroducing their regular kibble.

Will they need a special diet?

If your pet has had extractions, we may recommend feeding canned food or water-softened kibble for a few days. However, in some cases, we will recommend switching your pet to a diet specifically formulated for dental health. It is called Hills t/d diet and is available for both dogs and cats. Ask your veterinarian if this food may be beneficial for your pet.

Are there any other treatment options for periodontal disease?

Yes. We are happy to refer you to the board-certified dentist to discuss what treatments are available to you.

When are antibiotics indicated for dental procedures?

Antibiotics are indicated when there are signs of infection in the mouth. Signs you may recognize are a foul smell or severely inflamed gum tissue. Radiographs while under anesthesia may show pockets of infection known as tooth root abscesses. In these cases, we usually recommend sending home a course of antibiotics.

How often should I have my pet’s teeth cleaned?

Twin Peaks Veterinary Center recommends that you discuss your pet’s dentistry needs every year at your annual examination. Generally, we recommend annual teeth cleaning. However, there are some cases where pets can go two to three years between cleanings. On the other hand, there are pets who may benefit from cleanings every six months.

Can’t I just feed dry food to keep my dog’s teeth clean?

Unfortunately, feeding dry kibble alone is not usually enough to promote good dental health. If you rinse your dog’s mouth out with water after eating, brush the teeth regularly, offer dental chews or toys, or any combination of those, you can hope to prolong the time between professional cleanings.

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