Our Veterinarian’s schedule and perform dental cleanings 6 days a week! See the information below for more on our dental cleaning procedures and offers and give us a call to schedule your pet’s appointment!
We offer FREE dental examinations performed by one of our trained technicians Monday – Friday 9am-5pm. Please call to schedule an appointment to come in. During the examination, if your dog or cat is found to have severe dental disease, a Doctor will need to assess your pet and may need to prescribe antibiotics. If this is required, a Doctor’s examination fee will be applied, and the appointment may need to be rescheduled based on the Doctor’s availability.
How Do I Know My Pet Has Dental Disease?
Up to 80% of pets develop some form of dental disease by 3 years of age. During regular physical exams, the veterinarian will take a look at your pet’s teeth and determine whether a dental cleaning is necessary. Dental disease can cause a number of medical issues including infection, loss of teeth, pain and inflammation, and can even affect the kidneys, liver, and heart. Here are some signs to look for that may help you identify if your pet has dental disease:
- Bad breath
- Gums are red, swollen, or inflamed
- Gums bleed when they are brushed or touched
- Painful when chewing, won’t eat ice
- Eats canned or soft food regularly instead of dry food
- If you press a cotton swab to your pets gums, their teeth chatter or bleed
- Heavy tartar, green or black build up on teeth near gum line
- Pus or discharge coming from the gums around the teeth
- Pawing or scratching at face excessively
- Swelling on only one side of the face or eye discharge
Dental Steps Explained
- Pre-Anesthesia Exam – Physical examination of the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, abdomen, legs, lymph nodes, skin, and coat, as well as listening to the heart, lungs, recording temperature and weight.
- Pre-Operative Antibiotic Injection – To prevent infection due to the bacteria that is released from the plaque during the scaling of the teeth.
- Place IV-Catheter – Allows for rapid and direct distribution of medications and fluids during the dental procedure.
- Pre-Operative Blood Evaluation – Evaluates the liver, kidneys, electrolytes, and blood counts to ensure anesthesia is catered to your pet’s medical conditions.
- Sedation and Pain Injection – Decreases pre-operative anxiety and provides pain relief during and after the procedure. This also helps to relax your pet in preparation for anesthesia induction.
- Anesthesia Induction – Injections are given to sedate and an endotracheal tube is placed to administer inhalant anesthesia and oxygen and to maintain respiration during the procedure.
- Pulse Oximetry and Anesthesia Monitoring – Assists in monitoring the heart rate and oxygen saturation while under anesthesia. A technician trained in anesthesia will also be with your pet at all times to monitor their temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and EKG.
- IV-Fluid Therapy – Helps maintain hydration and blood pressure during the procedure.
- Temperature Management System – The use of proper heating blankets, IV fluid warmers, socks and/or warming tables to keep your pet warm and comfortable while under anesthesia, as anesthesia can cause a drop in body temperature.
- Ultrasonic Scaling – High powered instrument supplying high frequency vibrations, used to remove plaque, bacteria, and calculus from the teeth.
- Sub-gingival Curettage – The removal of calculus and plaque found on the tooth underneath the gum line.
- Probing for Pockets and Gingival Recession – Measures pocket depths around each tooth and checks for exposure of root surfaces to establish periodontitis and periodontal pockets, and determine if x-rays and extractions may be necessary.
- Irrigate – Flushing of the mouth to remove loosened plaque and bacteria from dental surfaces.
- Dental X-ray – After probing, an x-ray may be taken to determine whether extractions are necessary due to bone loss and tooth decay, and to identify open root canals and infected tooth roots.
- Polish – To smooth the surface after the scaling of the teeth to decrease the adhesive ability of plaque in the future.
- Fluoride – An anti-plaque treatment used to help strengthen and desensitize teeth and discourage the development of future plaque.
- Recovery – A technician will monitor your pet after anesthesia until they are awake with the ability to stand up and has recovered swallowing reflexes.
- Remove Catheter – The IV catheter remains in place until your pet is ready to be discharged. A pressure bandage is placed to prevent bleeding, and is usually ready to be removed 15-20 minutes after.
- Dental Charting – The doctor and technician will complete a detailed medical chart after the procedure, along with home care instructions. The Doctor will call you to arrange a pick-up time after your pet is awake from anesthesia.
- Home Care and Dental Aftercare – The technician will go over any home care instructions and questions you may have, present you with before and after dental photos and we also send home a list of recommended preventative care techniques to help keep your pet’s teeth clean and plaque free in between cleanings.
THE SCOTTSDALE VETERINARY CLINIC’S DENTAL CARE RECOMMENDATIONS
Good teeth and gums are very important to the health of your pet. The average animal lives 2-3 years longer with healthy teeth than those left with gingivitis and tartar. Not only does bad teeth cause bad breath, but plaque, tartar and gingivitis can lead to severe organ diseases such as heart, kidney and liver failure.
- We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth 2 times weekly. You can buy toothpaste and toothbrushes here or at a local pet store. Some pets tolerate a finger brush very well. Do not use a human toothpaste as these cannot be swallowed. Dentacetic wipes may be used as an alternative to brushing. If you are unable to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis, ask about our brushless dental cleaning plan option for maintaining your pet’s teeth year round.
- You can also use dental chews, such as Oravet. These uniquely shaped, tasty chews are designed to improve your dog’s oral hygiene, AND they come in three dog-friendly sizes! Oravet Chews are the ONLY dog approved product on the market with the ingredient Delmopinol – a common human grade oral product that creates a protective shield over the teeth that will not allow plaque biofilm and bacteria to adhere to the teeth! Unlike other dental products, given daily Oravet chews also have statistically shown to greatly improve halitosis (bad breath!). With it’s vanilla mint flavor, it has been a HUGE hit for our doggy patients and their pet parents! Our dogs LOVE Oravet! If you purchase other chews from a local pet store, please keep in mind that they must be “enzymatic” to be really effective.
*Most chews are safe and very beneficial to the teeth, however, if your pet swallows them whole they must be discontinued as they can cause a blockage and may require surgery. Other rawhides/chews tend to cause more problems with diarrhea or vomiting as they are cured with formaldehyde. Oravet chews are easily digestible and break down easy when swallowed.
- We also recommend starting your pet on Plaque Off. This product bonds to tartar, breaks tartar off the teeth, and helps prevent new tartar from forming. Simply add this powder to your pet’s food daily. This product works well for dogs and cats that do not like to chew or are too sick for a sedated dental cleaning.
- Greenies can be beneficial to the teeth; however, make sure your pet does not swallow them whole as they can cause a blockage which may require surgery.
- Dental cleanings are recommended for all pets with tartar and gingivitis, or for those pets that may require tooth extractions. At The Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic we have great discounts on our Brushless Plan Option for Pet Dental Health. The brushless dental option includes dental cleanings every 6 months to keep your pet’s teeth in the best condition. These dental cleanings are significantly discounted to make this procedure affordable and keep your pet in optimal health. Most dogs and cats will require their first cleaning between 2-4 years of age.
Dental disease begins with the accumulation of plaque on your dog’s or cat’s teeth. Plaque is the soft yellow material that is a mixture of food particles and bacteria. Over time, the plaque begins to harden and forms a mineralized material called tartar, or calculus. Before the plaque turns into tartar is when home care is the most important and beneficial. Once tartar is formed, normal brushing at home is not enough to fully remove it. With tartar being formed, the environment within the mouth becomes favorable to harmful organisms and bacteria. When our Veterinarians look at the teeth during an exam, a tartar grade and a periodontal disease grade, is assigned to your pet. This grade is based on the WORST tooth in the mouth.
Tartar Grades Are As Follows:
Grade I – When the tooth has mild plaque present but no tartar at the time of examination.
Grade II- There is an increased amount of plaque present, and tartar is covering <50% of the tooth.
Grade III – Tartar covers 50-80% of the tooth.
Grade IV – Tartar covers 80–100% of the tooth.
Periodontal disease is directly related to the accumulation of tartar on your dog’s or cat’s teeth. As tartar is changing the environment in your pet’s mouth, these new bacteria begin affecting the periodontal ligaments. These ligaments are responsible for attaching the teeth to the bone. As bacteria gain access to these ligaments, the attachment is weakened and bone loss can occur. This creates what we refer to as “Pockets”, and causes loose teeth, bone loss, pain, and eventually teeth will decay and fall out.
Grading the severity of periodontal disease while your pet is awake is a guess, based on the amount of tartar, gingivitis and recession of the gums. Probing for pockets and taking X-rays are the only true way to grade periodontal disease, and this can only be properly done while the pet is under sedation or anesthesia.
Periodontal disease grades are as follows:
- Grade 0 – Some plaque or tartar, no bone loss.
- Grade I – Mild gingivitis (a red line is visible along the gums), no bone loss. At this point the changes are reversible.
- Grade II – Moderate gingivitis, <25% bone loss, gums are swollen, and bad breath. The teeth may still be salvageable at this point. Antibiotics aregenerally required prior to dental cleaning.
- Grade III – Severe gingivitis, 25-50% bone loss, gingival recession, sore mouth, and bad breath. Changes may be irreversible, and the possibility of tooth extractions are high. Antibiotics are generally required prior to dental cleaning.
- Grade IV – Severe gingivitis, >50% bone loss, severe recession, loose teeth, and bad breath. These changes are irreversible and tooth extractions will be necessary. Long term antibiotics are necessary both prior to the dental cleaning and after the cleaning.
We recommend having your pet’s teeth cleaned before they require extractions. Performing dental cleanings while they have low grades of tartar and periodontal disease has many benefits. Benefits include: Lower cost to you, decreased stress to your pet and more options for the type of dental performed. An animal that has a Grade I periodontal disease has the option of undergoing a conscious sedation dental or a traditional dental. However, an animal with Grade III periodontal disease only has the option of a traditional dental with anesthesia. Differences in these procedures are explained below.
Traditional Dental Cleaning Under Anesthesia
For a traditional dental cleaning, your pet is placed under anesthesia. The use of anesthesia is generally very safe. Before administering any drugs we perform a blood profile that will allows us to access the function of your pet’s internal organs. A doctor will perform a physical examination. These two steps are performed to answer the question, “Is this animal healthy enough to undergo anesthesia?” Once your pet is anesthetized a technician trained in anesthesia monitors the animal’s pulse rate, respiratory rate, and temperature.
Traditional dental cleaning cost: $320
Price Includes: Basic chemistry/CBC blood profile, pre-anesthetic evaluation, anesthesia, ultrasonic scaling, oral charting, dental probe, low speed polish, fluoride treatment, IV fluids, antibiotic injection, pain injection, dental x-rays.
Conscious Sedation Dental Cleaning
Conscious sedation dentals are an alternative to tradition dental cleaning for some pets. These dental cleanings are performed under heavy sedation (“Twilight anesthesia”), instead of full anesthesia. Since we are not performing anesthesia a blood profile is usually not required (Unless the pet is over the age of 7 years). This service is only offered to pet’s who are estimated to be in Grade 0 – 1 periodontal disease. These periodontal grades are difficult to predict in the awake patient, and there is a chance some teeth will be found that are a grade higher. At this time anesthesia may need to be induced to properly clean and assess the affected tooth. The conscious sedation dental option is also not available for brachycephalic breeds (Pugs, Bulldogs, Persians, etc.), or sick animals.
Conscious sedation dental cleaning cost: $175
If tooth extractions are required and anesthesia is induced: $50 additional (price does NOT include extraction or medication cost)
Price includes: Sedation, ultrasonic scaling, oral charting, dental probe, low speed polish, fluoride treatment,
SQ fluids, antibiotic injection, and dental x-rays.
* If your pet is over the age of 7, it is required that a blood profile be performed & an IV catheter be placed to deliver IV fluids. The additional charge is $95.
Anesthesia Free Dentals
At TSVC we do not support or recommend anesthesia free dentals. While we cannot explain the purpose of cleaning your pet’s teeth to him/her, it is impossible to expect your pet to fully cooperate while we attempt to perform this service. Imagine someone holds you down to attempt to clean your teeth and never mentions their intentions. This would be a terrifying experience for all involved. Additionally, a thorough oral examination is impossible in the awake patient. Anesthesia free dentals are an incomplete service, leading to a false sense of preventing dental disease. One of the most important aspects of the dental cleaning is removing tartar from below the gum line, and cleaning out the pockets, this is impossible to perform in the fully awake patient.
Feline Resorptive Lesions
These lesions are also known as “Cat Cavities.”
Often a cat’s gums in the affected area will be cherry red in color. A good way to determine if your cat is affected is to touch the gum with a Q-tip above the suspected lesion, and if the cat’s jaws chatter this condition is highly suspected.
Resorption occurs at the level of the tooth root as well as the crown. With the presence of these lesions the affected tooth is predisposed to infections. If the roots are being resorbed the recommendation is to perform crown amputation. However, if the resorption is above the gum line we recommend extracting the tooth. This cannot be fully determined without dental x-rays.
Call TSVC to schedule your dental appointment today!