Category Archives: dental recommendations

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Discusses Anesthesia-Free Dentistry

You know this story already: You bring your pet to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD for a routine check-up. You’re feeding a good diet and your fur-baby is healthy and happy—everything should be smooth sailing, right? Then, while the technician is looking in your pet’s mouth, you hear these words: “It looks like Fluffy would really benefit from a professional cleaning.”

For some pet parents, this can conjure up memories of trips to the dentist, financial concerns, or even fears about anesthesia. So, it’s completely understandable that anesthesia-free dentistry (a new movement in veterinary medicine) sounds so appealing…but is it too good to be true?

There are many benefits to anesthetized oral cleanings. Below, we explore 4 key points to consider when deciding what’s best for your furry friend.

  1. Oral examinations under anesthesia are more complete and thorough. They include looking

    KAH’s Dr Cardella is able to perform a full oral examination with her patient under anesthesia.

    at the palate (roof of the mouth), the throat and tonsils, the tongue and all of the mucous membranes inside the oral cavity. Sometimes this uncovers other concerns, like something lodged in the folds of the palate or a cut. It also allows the health care team to visualize and probe each tooth—are any broken? Missing? Extra? Discolored? Loose? Attempting a full oral exam of an awake pet is impractical and is stressful for him/her.

  2. The plaque and tartar up under the gumline are far more

    KAH technician Rush is performing an oral cleaning, which includes scaling teeth below the gumline.

    unhealthy than the visible buildup on the crown of the teeth. The area where the tooth meets the gums (the gingival sulcus) is where the bacteria that cause periodontal disease live. Cleanings under anesthesia include a thorough scaling and polishing of the subgingival space. Awake pets do not usually allow subgingival cleaning—especially if a tooth is painful.

  3. Oral cleanings under general anesthesia include full digital dentalradiographs. Two-thirds of every dog or cat tooth is root,

    Here, Rush is preparing to ake a dental x-ray, which will let the doctor see the roots of the teeth.

    which means it is below the gumline. This allows the veterinarian to see the entire tooth, and can reveal issues like tooth root abscess, root resorption, retained baby teeth, and bone loss. These things can absolutely impact the long-term overall health of a pet! Because of the positioning and the complete stillness needed for good images, it’s impossible to get dental x-rays on an awake pet.

  4. Cleanings under anesthesia are stress-free to the pet, and are not

    KAH technician Sam is helping Carter recover from anesthesia–he is snug and warm in his blanket!

    uncomfortable for them. Even the best-behaved and most tolerant pet can be worried or stressed by the process of cleaning teeth. From the continual rinsing, to the scraping sensation of the instruments, to the noise of a polisher – it’s a lot of new stimulations, sounds, and sensations. Additionally, pets are often asked to hold their heads or mouths in a certain way for a period of time while the cleaning takes place.

We know that everyone wants what is safest and best for their pets, so we are happy to help provide information so each client can make an informed, educated decision. As always, please ask your veterinarian or technician at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital any questions about oral cleanings and care!

Pets Have Teeth, Too!

Did you know:
From the time your pet eats a meal until the time tartar starts to calcify on their teeth is only 48-72 hours? Once tartar is calcified the only way to remove it is with a professional cleaning.

The bacteria that thrives in your pet’s mouth can infiltrate their heart, liver and kidneys through the bloodstream by way of bleeding and inflamed gums?

There are things you can do at home to promote your pet’s dental health?

Here are some of the ways you can keep your pet’s teeth healthy:

Good to Chew: Giving your cat or dog a CET chew after a meal will coat their teeth with a dual enzyme system to control plaque and eliminate bacteria build-up. Greenies dental chews are also a good choice to help reduce plaque and tartar build-up.

Better to Rinse: Using a Chlorhexadine oral rinse once daily for dogs and cats will help prevent plaque accumulation.

Best to Brush: The best thing you can do for your pet’s teeth at home is to brush them at least once every other day (daily is even better!) using an appropriate cat or dog toothbrush and an enzymatic toothpaste made specifically for animals.

: There are also specialized diets available for pets that promote healthy teeth and gums. The two that we recommend are Hill’s Prescription diet T/D (available only through veterinarians) or any Eukanuba dry pet food with the MCC system (available at most pet stores).

OraVet Plaque Prevention Gel: Once a barrier sealant is applied to your pet’s teeth you can begin doing a weekly application of this gel to prevent plaque and tartar forming bacteria from attaching to your pet’s teeth.

Professional Cleaning: A professional cleaning is done under anesthesia. Anesthesia is necessary so that the calculus that has formed under the gum line as well as on the crown of the tooth can be removed. Once cleaned, the teeth are polished and treated with a fluoride foam and OraVet sealant.

Dental radiographs: If any abnormalities are noted during the cleaning dental radiographs are required. The radiographs allow us to view the tooth root and surrounding bone. After reviewing the radiographs, the veterinarian can determine if a tooth is damaged and needs further treatment.

For more information or for pricing on a professional cleaning, call us at 301-631-6900.