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Proper dental care plays a critical role in a pet’s overall heath. A build-up of plaque contains thousands of bacteria that can enter the pet’s bloodstream and lead to heart, kidney and liver disease. It is amazing how quickly tartar can collect in your pet’s mouth, particularly on their back teeth. During exams the doctor will check your pet’s mouth for signs of dental disease. They will determine what grade of dental disease your pet has. The grades are one to four and are determined by the following:
Grade 1 — Gingivitis
Margin of attached gingiva (gum) is inflamed and swollen. Some plaque is present. Treatment can reverse this condition.
Grade 2 — Early Periodontitis
Entire attached gum is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor begins to be noticeable. Professional treatment and home dental care can prevent this from becoming irreversible.
Grade 3 — Moderate Periodontitis
Cherry red and bleeding attached gum is being destroyed by infection and calculus (tartar). Sore mouth affects eating and behavior. Bad breath is present. Beginning of the loss of tooth attachment. This may become irreversible.
Grade 4 — Advanced Periodontitis
Chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gum, tooth and bone. Bacteria may be spreading throughout the entire body via the bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver and heart. Liver disease, infected teeth and gums are very painful.
If your pet is diagnosed with dental disease the doctor will recommend a dental cleaning. Depending on the grade of dental disease, there may also be dental x-rays needed and teeth may be extracted. Because general anesthesia is required, for the safety of your pet we recommend that he/she has pre-anesthetic blood work done prior to surgery. If your pet is seven years or older, blood work is required. A blood panel at Minnehaha Animal Hospital checks the liver, kidneys and other body systems to help determine if your pet is healthy enough for the anesthetic, and the best anesthetic protocol for your pet.
Once the procedure has been scheduled the staff will go over pre-surgical instructions with you. These are:
- No food after 8:00 p.m. the night prior to surgery, but water should be available.
Drop off the morning of the procedure anywhere between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., allowing 15-20 minutes for check-in.
- When you arrive at the hospital the morning of the dental cleaning one of our Client Service Representatives will ask a few basic questions and then escort you and your pet into an exam room. The surgery technician will then discuss the procedure, review the treatment plan and answer any questions you may have.
- A discharge appointment will be scheduled so your pet’s procedure and aftercare can be discussed.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
why do you have to use general anesthesia for a dental procedure? my groomer cleans my pet’s teeth when i bring them in for grooming!
Good question! “Anesthesia Free Dentals” is a misnomer. 60% of the tooth is below the surface of the gumline and that is where periodontal disease takes hold. In order to properly clean your pet’s teeth we must be able to get below the gumline which is not possible to do on an awake pet. For more information on the dental procedure go to
Understanding the Dental Procedure & Anesthesia Free Dental Concerns