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Keeping your pet healthy is more than getting them their yearly vaccinations. Just like humans, pets need routine dental care to maintain overall wellness. Periodontal disease is a serious issue found in 85% of pets 4 years of age and older. If left untreated, your pet can suffer from its ill-effects such as inflamed and painful gums, bad breath, bone loss, loose teeth, and infections that can spread to other parts of the body. At West Ridge Animal Hospital, we believe in preventive medicine. Home care is the most important preventive measure against periodontal disease, and can be worked into your daily routine in just a few short minutes. We have a wide selection of home care options, and knowledgeable and experienced staff to help you choose the right one for you and your pet.

Professional dental cleanings are also a vital aspect in maintaining your pet’s oral health, just as they are for humans. Removal of plaque and tartar not only make teeth look nice and their breath smell better, but reduces the risk of progressive periodontal disease, which can cause abscessed teeth and jaw bone loss. Bacteria allowed to flourish in the mouth can easily enter the blood stream and cause other systemic infections of the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and neurological systems. These conditions are painful to your pet, and may affect their ability to eat.

Our professional anesthetized dental cleanings meet the American Animal Hospital (AAHA)’s standard for veterinary care. Pre-anesthetic examination and blood panels ensure your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia. An ultrasonic scaler is used to remove plaque and tartar build-up without compromising the enamel; the use of metal tools to scrape the teeth can cause scratches that weaken the tooth surface and allow bacteria to flourish. Each tooth is probed and pocket depths are charted. At least 60% of the tooth is located below the gum line. Full-mouth digital radiographs allow the veterinarian to evaluate this section of the tooth, check for fractures, bone loss, and abscesses. The roots of the teeth are cleaned and the gums are irrigated to remove any debris caught below. If any teeth need additional repair or extraction, our skilled doctors are able to perform these procedures at that time. The teeth are then polished with a special paste and polishing cup to make them shine and remove any last bits of plaque. All of this is done while your pet is under general anesthesia and is being monitored by trained member of our surgical technician team; anesthesia allows for safe and pain-free cleaning, extractions, and other dental work.

We are proud to offer convenient ways to budget your pet’s dental cleaning through our Life Time Dental Wellness Plans, and by accepting Care Credit. If you are ready to schedule a professional dental cleaning for your pet, contact us today!

Brushing Dog's Teeth

West Ridge Animal Hospital is an American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited hospital. This AAHA accreditation means we have chosen to voluntarily live up to a list of over 900 standards. Some of the dental health standards that we comply with include: sterilized instruments for each patient, performing local nerve blocks before extractions are done, surgical extractions of the teeth, advanced periodontal care to save teeth, and full mouth digital dental radiographs of every dental patient on a yearly basis, just as human dentists recommend.

Very few veterinary hospitals in the area provide this level of care in their dental packages. Complying with AAHA standards also means advanced monitoring of dental anesthesia, including blood pressure, carbon dioxide and oxygen levels, and a constant EKG tracing. Placing an intravenous catheter and providing IV fluids during the procedure are essential to the safety of the patient. This allows us to treat low blood pressure, to administer drugs immediately intravenously, and to aid in the rapid removal of the anesthetic medications from the body.

Our dental procedures include pre-operative blood testing, general anesthesia, a complete oral exam, tooth scaling, root planing, sub-gingival curettage, polishing, and full mouth dental radiographs. Procedures and/or treatment beyond this may include surgical exactions, advanced periodontal techniques, local anesthetic blocks, pain management injections, antibiotic injections or gel placement, medications to go home, and home care dental plans. All of our dental patients receive a no charge follow-up appointment within 1-2 weeks, and are encouraged to take advantage of complimentary dental visits throughout the year to assess oral health.

The best way to perform a dental procedure is not the cheapest or least expensive way. Occasionally, you may see a veterinary clinic offering “anesthesia-free” teeth cleanings – these procedures are not accepted by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the facilities are usually served with a “cease and desist” order from the AVMA, as simply scraping the tartar from the teeth mobilizes bacteria in the bloodstream, does not address severe disease under the gumline, and creates grooves in the tooth, which can actually worsen the accumulation of plaque and tartar in the mouth. We encourage clients to come and observe an entire dental from start to finish in order to better understand the procedure of a dental cleaning. Please speak with a staff member if you have any questions about dental care in your pet.

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