Dental Levels

Dental Levels

Your veterinarian and the GVH team will work hard to provide you with the best treatment plan for you and your pet!

Dental Treatment Plans:

  • Level 1 Dental Clean and Polish indicates that your pet’s mouth has been examined and found to only have minimal calculus (tartar) accumulation with little or no gingival reaction.  As such, we should be able to re-establish a good state of oral health with a routine cleaning and polish.
  • Level 2 Dental Clean and Polish indicates that your pet’s mouth has been examined and found to have mild to moderate (tartar) accumulation with minimal gingival reaction.  As such, we should be able to re-establish a good state of oral health with a intensive cleaning and polish.
  • Level 3 Dental Clean and Polish indicates that your pet has been examined and found to have moderate to severe calculus (tartar) accumulation with mild to moderate periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease is rarely cured.  However, treatment we are recommending is aimed at management of an ongoing disease process involving infection, pain, loss of tooth support and ultimately tooth loss.  Every attempt will be made to identify and remove infected tissue and non-vital teeth to aid in the healing process and return of a reasonably healthy oral environment.
  • Level 4 Dental Clean and Polish indicates that your pet has been examined and found to have severe calculus accumulation with moderate / severe periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease is rarely cured.  Treatments such as the one we are now recommending are aimed at management of an ongoing disease process involving infection, pain, loss of tooth support and ultimately tooth loss, in addition to secondary disease of the heart and other major organs.  Every attempt will be made to identify and remove infected tissue and non-vital teeth to aid in the healing process and return of a reasonable health oral environment.

In most instances, it is only possible to obtain a cursory oral examination when your pet is awake.  Once your pet’s teeth are free of surface calculus (tartar) and periodontal probing has been completed, a much more complete picture of the state of the pet’s mouth is obtained.  Changes to the treatment plan may be necessary once the procedure is underway.  It is very important when your pet is scheduled for a dental procedure someone authorized to make decisions about your pet’s health is available by phone.  The team will contact you during the procedure to update you on the treatment plan if major changes are necessary.

Dental Health Food Success Story

Dental Health Food Success Story

A few years ago, Dr. Helfer, a doctor on our GVH team, had a pet with severe dental disease. The cat, a beautiful Siamese, was in repeatedly for dental procedures because of how severe the dental disease was. Medically, the patient needed a dental cleaning every 6 to 8 months. Shortly after, Hill’s Science Diet, came out with t/d, a dental health food and she began feeding t/d to her cat.  Six months later, Dr. Helfer was amazed to find that her pet’s teeth looked as good as the day she did the last dental cleaning.  After exclusively eating t/d the kitty never needed another dental cleaning and was able to live a healthy life.  Though this is not always the case, the doctors of GVH believe t/d is a great choice to help fight dental disease.

t/d-dental-health-food

Dr. Helfer also finds that her patients love the taste of the food. Because of the large size of the kibble it helps pets to eat slower which helps with digestion.  t/d is safe for patients that have been on Hill’s Science Diet c/d for a period of time and are doing well with their urinary issues.

 

t/d-dental-health-picture

This is how t/d kibble works!

Your Pet’s Dental Care Is Important

Your Pet’s Dental Care Is Important

Dental care is an important part of your pet’s overall health. Left untreated, dental disease can lead to problems within the mouth such as pain, bad breath, and tooth loss but can also cause disease elsewhere in the body, like the heart and kidneys. While your veterinarian can diagnose and treat these problems, it is preferable to avoid them if possible. Below are some steps you can take to keep your pet healthy by keeping their mouth healthy.

  • Home dental care: Studies have shown that daily tooth brushing is the single most effective tool to reduce plaque and tartar. While it helps to start introducing a toothbrush to your pet when they are still young, almost all dogs and cats can be trained to accept having their teeth brushed. There are a variety of brush options, but the most important consideration is using pet-friendly toothpaste. Pet toothpaste is safe to swallow and comes in flavors like seafood and chicken. If your pet is not tolerant of tooth brushing, there are still other good options for providing at home dental care, including oral rinses, dental diets and dental chews.

When purchasing products, look for The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance. Also remember that while chewing can decrease plaque, the American Veterinary Dental College does not recommend pets chewing on hard objects such as natural bones, cow hooves or antlers because it can lead to tooth fractures.

  • Routine oral exam: At every wellness visit, we check your pet’s mouth for signs of dental disease. We assess the teeth for tartar, root exposure and look for obvious fractures. We also check the gingiva (gums) for inflammation, as evidenced by swelling or bleeding. Additionally we examine the outside of the mouth, checking the surrounding tissues for any abnormalities. When the pet will tolerate it, we also examine the palate, tongue and pharynx as best possible. However, even with the most cooperative of pets, exams while pets are awake are somewhat limited, which is part of the reason regular dental prophylaxis (cleanings) are important.
  • Prophylaxis (Cleanings): Even with excellent home care, tartar will accumulate on the surface of the teeth. A prophylaxis is a dental cleaning procedure done under anesthesia that includes a thorough oral exam and cleaning (scale and polish) of your pet’s teeth.  Generally, routine dental cleanings begin for small/toy breed dogs and cats around the age of three, while large breeds can begin regular cleanings at the age of five; however this varies by individual and breed and is dependent on your pet’s overall health assessment. Please discuss the specifics of this procedure with your veterinarian to see if it is right for your pet. If advanced disease is present, dental radiographs and extractions (surgical removal of teeth) may be needed; however our goal is to prevent the need for this with early interventions.

Another good source of information for pet owners is the American Veterinary Dental College.

 

Amanda M. Theodore, VMD, GVH Veterinarian

Stages of Dental Disease

Stages of Dental Disease

Did you know that there are different stages of dental disease?


Stage 1 

  • Inflammation at the gum line
  • Redness
  • Plaque Accumulation

Stage 2

  • All symptoms in stage one plus …
  • The tartar that mineralization of plaque
  • Bad breath
  • Volatile Sulfur Compounds

Stage 3

  • Early periodontal disease
  • All symptoms in stage two plus …
  • Pustular discharge
  • Slight to moderate bone loss

Stage 4

  • Advanced Periodontitis
  • All symptoms in stage three plus …
  • Deep pockets of infection
  • Severe bone loss
  • Mobility

Dental care is an important part of your pet’s overall health. Left untreated, dental disease can lead to problems within the mouth such as pain, bad breath, and tooth loss but can also cause disease elsewhere in the body, like the heart and kidneys. While your veterinarian can diagnose and treat these problems, it is preferable to avoid them if possible. Steps you can take to maintain your pets oral health.

Brushing My Pet’s Teeth

Brushing My Pet’s Teeth

The Best Tool for the Job!!! 

Brushing My Pet’s Teeth

The GVH Team recommends using any of these tools:

  1. Traditional toothbrush with or without an angled head
  2. Brushes with multiple heads to simultaneously brush the inside, outside and top surfaces of the tooth
  3. Electric toothbrush
  4. Finger toothbrushes which fit on the tip of your finger
  5. Dental sponges
  6. Wash Cloth
  7. A piece of clean gauze wrapped around your finger

Toothpaste: Use only toothpaste made for pets.  You can purchase toothpaste at GVH or your local pet store. Toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors including liver, mint, chicken, and peanut butter. Do not use human toothpaste on your pet’s teeth. It contains ingredients that are not safe for animals to consume.  

Other Things That Can Help Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Clean: 

  1. t/d dental diet (food) from Science Diet – it is made to help reduce plaque, stains, tartar buildup, and bad breath.

    This is how t/d kibble works!

    This is how t/d kibble works!

  2. Chew treats (such as Greenies) that are made for promoting dental health.

 

Pre-Surgical Bloodwork for Dental Procedures

Pre-Surgical Bloodwork for Dental Procedures

Just as you would need to have blood work done before having a medical procedure, so does your pet. On admittance to the hospital for a dental procedure, a blood sample is drawn by the surgical veterinary technicians for pre-surgical blood work. Your veterinarian uses it to check for several things including liver and kidney functions, an increase in glucose levels, and dehydration. It is particularly important to ensure that the liver and kidneys are functioning well to be able to process the medications that are used under anesthesia. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious underlying medical issues that can only be diagnosed through blood work.

After the blood work is complete, the doctor will then review the results and decide on a safe surgical plan. If a serious medical issue is diagnosed the doctor may decide to delay the dental procedure in order to treat the medical issue. If the results are normal, the dental procedure can then be performed.

Pre-surgical blood work is not just for detecting abnormalities, but it also confirms that your pet is healthy and helps to establish a baseline for your pet’s overall health in the future. By running these tests we can help reduce the risk of anesthesia, diagnose underlying medical abnormalities, and perform the safest dental procedure possible.

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