As a small-animal practitioner, you spend a good portion of your day diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. Unfortunately, due to differences in salivary pH, our patients accumulate plaque and develop calculus five times faster than people. Research shows that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of gingival disease by the age of 3 according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. Periodontal disease can cause halitosis and pain and may be related to kidney and heart disease.
Most pets will benefit from a yearly dental cleaning and oral examination under anesthesia. When patients are discharged following a professional dental cleaning, a home-care program should be part of the take-home instruction sheet.
Local anesthesia and regional anesthetic nerve blocks have been used for decades in human dentistry, but incorporating intraoral regional anesthetic blocks into veterinary dental and oral surgical procedures did not gain acceptance until the mid-1990s.
Coming in August: Dr. Carmichael will complete his discussion on feline oral diseases including odontoclastic resorptive lesions, treatment options for fractured teeth, feline gingivitis/stomatitis syndrome and feline oral neoplasia.
Periodontal inflammation is the most common syndrome affecting small animals. In no other area of the body can the dedicated veterinarian and dental team make a lifelong difference in patient health and longevity.
When presented with a patient that has a fractured tooth, the practitioner is faced with options for care: do nothing, follow the patient with serial radiographs, place a crown on top of the fracture with or without performing root canal therapy, or extract the tooth. The decision is based on patient and client factors. This foundation article will discuss patient factors.