Dental disease is as common in dogs as it is in humans. The most common form of dental disease in humans is caries (cavities). However, this is not the case in dogs. The most common form of canine dental disease is tartar buildup. This causes irritation of the gums around the base of the teeth (gingivitis), resulting in exposure of the roots. Ultimately, this leads to infection and tooth loss.
There are many misconceptions about tartar buildup in dogs. Diet is probably much less important than most people think. Because dry food is not as sticky as canned food, it does not adhere to the teeth as much and thus, does not cause tartar buildup as rapidly. However, eating dry food does not remove tartar from the teeth. Once tartar forms, a professional cleaning is necessary.
One of the main factors determining the amount of tartar buildup is the individual chemistry in the mouth. Some dogs need yearly cleanings; other dogs need a cleaning only once every few years.
If tartar is allowed to remain on the teeth, several things may happen:
Proper cleaning of the teeth requires complete cooperation of the patient so plaque and tartar can be removed properly. Anesthesia is required to thoroughly clean the teeth. Although anesthesia always carries a degree of risk, the modern anesthetics in use in our hospital minimize this risk, even for older dogs. Depending on your dog's age and general health status, blood may be analyzed prior to anesthesia to evaluate blood cell counts and organ functions.
There are four steps in the cleaning process that will be used on your dog:
In order for us to clean your dog's teeth, we ask that you schedule the procedure a couple weeks in advance. It will be necessary to withhold food after 8 PM the night before; please do not remove the water. Your dog should be admitted to the hospital early (at 8:15 AM) and will generally be ready for discharge in the late afternoon. It will need to stay indoors that evening to insure that no accidents (falls, etc.) occur until complete recovery from anesthesia. If that is not possible, you may elect to have the dog spend the night in the hospital. It should be fed and watered lightly that evening and returned to normal feeding the next morning, at which time it should be completely recovered from the anesthetic.
I really feel like everytime I bring my pets in everyone makes me feel like my babies are their babies makes me feel super comfortable with the care that is provided. Not just another appointment you need to see.
I love how friendly everyone is, the moment you walk in the door you feel welcome. The care you have given my pets is exceptional, having alternative therapies and ways of treating animals is very important to me. Let's not leave out your outstanding communication with making follow up phone calls to see how my pet is doing and of course the compassion you show after the loss of a pet, the little extras you do mean a lot.
Bluff's pet clinic has always been great, honest, and genuinely caring. We moved away a few years ago and switched to a different vet. Well, it was then really realized how great Buffs is. There was no comparison. Bluffs is far superior. We have returned to Bluffs's and it's worth the drive!
I was so happy with the care Max got at The Bluffs. Your team is fantastic! Steve was fabulous and took a liking to Max right away, a true animal lover! They did not rush us and gave us many suggestions about him not taking to a litter pan (Good luck for us with that) He is getting neutered on November 28th. Looking forward to our next visit. Thank you so much!
I love how everyone interacts with my pet. They were so considerate of my feelings as well. Our previous vet clinic did not really interact with my dog. They just treated her like a piece of equipment that needed to be fixed. It was so impersonal. For this reason, we go to the Bluffs Clinic, where we feel understood and cared for.