Our board certified veterinary dentists are thrilled to hear that our veterinary colleagues in Australia have taken the right stance on the practice of anesthesia free dentistry, and it’s clear risks to a pet’s welfare. Continue reading “Australian Veterinary Community Takes a Stance Against Anesthesia Free Dentistry” »
If left untreated, periodontal disease in a pet’s mouth will continue to become more severe and cause extensive damage. Continue reading “Treating Beagle’s Severe Periodontal Disease” »
Little Cali was born with a congenital cleft palate. She was constantly getting material and food caught in her nose, which not only creates difficulty breathing, but also creates an environment for chronic nasal infection.
Dr. Niemiec of Veterinary Dental Specialties and Oral Surgery performed a cleft palate surgery to close the defect. Cali will be able to lead a normal life once she heals.
Cori is a five year old male Chihuahua that was adopted from a rescue group. It was immediately apparent that Cori has an upper jaw that is significantly shorter than his lower jaw. However, this was the least of his dental problems.
When Cori’s owner brought him to Dr. Allen Matson at Eastside Veterinary Dentistry for a complete veterinary dental exam, Dr. Matson found Cori had severe periodontal disease with heavy accumulations of plaque and calculus. In addition, many of his teeth had root exposure and were mobile. The periodontal disease was causing Cori a lot of pain in his mouth, and choosing a veterinary dentist was the absolute correct choice of care. Cori’s teeth were cleaned and full mouth x-rays were taken. A total of 17 teeth were extracted and periodontal therapy was performed on many of the remaining teeth.
Cori’s owner is extremely pleased with his response to the comprehensive veterinary dental treatment. Cori now eats dry food without pain for the first time in his life, not to mention delicious, soft chew sticks. As part of an ongoing home-care plan, Cori’s owner brushes his teeth regularly and states he loves having his teeth brushed!
Dotti is a two-year-old, female spayed, Great Dane (figure 1) that was referred to Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists for treatment of a previously diagnosed oral squamous cell carcinoma. The dog had a large, fast growing, mass on the rostral mandible that appeared about a month prior to presentation that was biopsied by the referring veterinarian. The owners reported she seemed to be uncomfortable when eating. Continue reading “Oral Surgery Saves Dotti the Great Dane’s Life!” »
As you know, veterinary dentists are strongly against the practice of anesthesia free dentistry or Non-Anesthetic Dentistry (NAD). There are numerous reasons for this, but mostly because it is a completely ineffective method of pet dental care. Moreover, the single most important step of a prophylaxis (subgingival scaling) cannot be performed without general anesthesia. Patients are often seen following NAD with clean crowns (visible portion of the tooth), but with significant areas of subgingival calculus. This may be the most damaging issue with this service, as it gives the client a false sense that they are improving the dental health of their pet. Dr. Niemiec along with his colleagues regularly have to have hard discussions with clients who are very upset when dental disease is diagnosed despite “clean” crowns. These clients feel that they have “failed” their pet, allowing them to progress to disease despite their well-intentioned efforts.
The following case contains detailed case photographs and video demonstrating the severity of the circumstances and evidence as to the risks of anesthesia free dental cleanings.
This patient had received regular (every other month) NAD. Despite this, she had waxing and waning halitosis. She was eventually referred to Veterinary Dental Specialties and Oral Surgery for a fractured tooth. Upon oral exam, the fractured left maxillary fourth premolar (208) was confirmed; however the teeth were fairly clean, with a few areas of calculus and gingival recession. (Figures 1-3) The patient was placed under anesthesia and oral exam revealed further areas of recession as well as a draining tract over the left maxillary canine (204). (Figure 4).
Periodontal probing revealed numerous periodontal pockets including a very deep pocket on the left canine (Figures 5-8) ad furcation 3 exposure on several teeth (Figure 9). In addition to the advanced periodontal disease, the patient also had tooth resorption, which is a very painful condition.
Finally, watch to see the right maxillary M1 (109) mobile level 3.
Dental radiographs confirmed severe periodontal loss and TRs (Figures 10-14) and surgically 204 had significant bone loss (Figure 15).
The patient was treated with numerus extractions. When the patient returned for the two week recheck, the owner commented that not only was their pet’s breath greatly improved, but also had far more energy.
All veterinary dentists have cases similar to this in which pets have suffered needlessly due to lack of proper care. NAD only serves to hide periodontal disease as well as other painful and infectious conditions.
We encourage veterinarians to refer their clients to this article as well avdc.org/afd for more education about the risks of anesthesia free dental cleanings and to encourage regular veterinary dental cleanings under anesthesia as part of their pet’s regular care.
A 10 month old Chow Mix presented to Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists for evaluation and treatment of an oral mass affecting the right maxilla in the region of the canine tooth. The canine tooth was not present on visual examination, however, numerous small tooth-like structures were observed protruding through the gingiva in this region. The owner reported an accident involving part of a couch landing on his head when he was a young puppy, but that this accident did not appear to result in any significant injury. Continue reading “Surgical Treatment of a Compound Odontoma in Chow Puppy” »
Last year, a 10 year old Shih Tsu was referred to Veterinary Dental Specialties and Oral Surgery for a suspect mandibular fracture. This was based on the dental radiographs taken at the referring veterinarian. The patient was placed under general anesthesia and a complete oral exam and radiographs were performed. This revealed very slight laxity at the mandibular right first molar. However the jaw was overall stable. Continue reading “Treating Severely Infected Pet Teeth with Root Canal Therapy” »
It’s that time of year again, why not set some resolutions that will benefit your furry family members? Your pet’s dental health is nothing to ignore and plays a significant role in their overall health and wellness. So, let us help you make some positive resolutions that will keep your pet’s smile healthy and ultimately save you money in the cost of treating preventable dental disease.
1. Make your pet’s annual veterinary dental cleaning appointment
Periodontal disease is the number one health condition in pets, but with proper care and veterinary cleanings, it’s entirely preventable. A comprehensive veterinary dental cleaning under anesthesia allows for a thorough exam, scaling and polishing of your pet’s teeth along with the opportunity to identify and treat early stages of periodontal disease.
It is also vital to understand that an “anesthesia-free pet teeth cleaning” is NOT a cleaning nor does it provide any benefit to your pet’s dental health. These services often offered by groomers or pet stores only serve to give a pet owner a false sense of confidence that their pet’s teeth are clean, while periodontal disease lurks and continues to do damage beneath the gumline. See a case demonstrating the consequences of anesthesia free dentals.
2. Confirm your veterinarian uses vet dental radiographs as part of the cleaning.
A veterinary dental cleaning should always include radiographs. Veterinary dental radiographs are the only way to get a complete picture of a pet’s mouth, most importantly what’s going on beneath the gumline. Even the most expert eye is unable to identify dental disease beneath the gumline. So, when you make your pet’s veterinary dental cleaning appointment, ask your veterinarian if their protocol includes radiographs of your pet’s mouth.
3. Start brushing your pet’s teeth daily at home.
Imagine not brushing your teeth every day, then imagine if you didn’t brush your teeth for months… Your pet has the same bacteria in their mouth as you, and left without any brushing just leaves that bacteria in their mouth to sit and develop into periodontal disease. Daily brushing of your pets teeth is the best step you can take to keep periodontal disease at bay in between their annual veterinary dental cleaning. Watch the video below for a guide to brushing your pet’s teeth.
4. Start the habit of looking in your pet’s mouth weekly for signs of anything abnormal.
You are an excellent person to help identify any problems in your pet’s mouth. A weekly visual check of your pet’s teeth, gums and oral cavity offers the opportunity to catch any signs of problems such as chipped or broken teeth, tumors or anything unusual. Our pet’s can’t tell us when they are in pain, so you can be your pet’s advocate in noticing signs of problems early, before they cause further pain and problems.
5. Don’t give bones, antlers or other hard items to your pet to chew on.
Pet broken teeth are painful for your pet and treatment can require root canal or extraction. One very simple way to prevent pet broken teeth is not providing your pet chew items that are likely to cause damage. Bones, antlers, nylon toys or other hard materials are hard and will chip and break a pet’s teeth. The best rule of thumb is if you can’t bend it or it has no give when pushing your fingernail into it, it’s too hard. Need proof, see a case involving damage from antlers given as chew toys.
“Mr. Gibbs” is a 12 year old Labrador Retriever who came to Gulf South Veterinary Dentistry & Oral Surgery to have a tumor removed from his mouth.
The large tumor had grown back quickly after his regular veterinarian biopsied it a couple of months earlier. We knew it was a tumor called a plasmacytoma, which is generally not metastatic (does not spread to other parts of the body), but can be locally invasive. The mass was irritating the dog and the owners so we removed it, along with several teeth and part of the upper jaw, or maxilla.
While we were unable to remove the deepest parts of the tumor that had grown into the bones of his nose, “Mr. Gibbs” is much happier and more comfortable than he was before the surgery. He is now seeing a veterinary oncologist (cancer specialist) for follow up treatment of a more serious mass on his skin that we removed at the same time as the jaw surgery.
There is no sign that either cancer has spread and “Gibbs” continues to do great at home.
If at any point you notice a growth or tumor in your dog or cat’s mouth, or unusual swelling on their face, it’s extremely important to have it immediately evaluated by a veterinary dentist who can determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant and then provide the best possible treatment plan.