My personal experience with pet dental care and my worries of my pets going under anesthetic.
I have decided to share my experience about dental care with my own pets in hopes that it may help others.I have two Chihuahuas named Chico and Chica. Chico is about 7 years old and Chica is about 5 years old.
I often hear pet owners say that they do not want to have a dental cleaning done due to being scared of putting their pet under anesthetic. I have worked here for over 23 years and can say with confidence that though there is a risk with any anesthetic procedure, in general it is very safe and especially now with new state of the art monitoring systems and advancements in the anesthetics used on pets. So what stopped me from getting my pets to go under anesthetic to get their teeth cleaned? My honest answer is me. My own personal worries about anesthetic. How could I see hundreds of pets recovering from anesthetic procedures safely and still be nervous about it? My own personal experience with human dentistry and anesthetic was making me nervous to put my pets through it.
For about 2-3 years I would have Chico’s teeth cleaned with the non-anesthetic cleaning that would be done by a company. Though we did some home teeth brushing at home, it was not enough for Chico. He would get the worst breath. The cleaning seemed to help with it, until I was told he had a loose tooth. This would mean there was no other choice but to have him go under the anesthesia to have his tooth pulled. Since he only had one tooth that was needed to be pulled, he was just under for a short period of time and did fine. We continued after that with the non-anesthetic cleanings. Then again, during one of his cleanings, I was told he had another loose tooth.
I finally just decided that he needed to have a complete deep cleaning as this also included dental x-rays. Though I was nervous to drop him off for his cleaning knowing this time he would be under for longer, I knew it was the best for him. After his cleaning and x-rays, it was found that Chico did not just need one tooth extracted, he needed 9 teeth extracted! Doing the maintenance non-anesthetic cleaning was cleaning the surface but not getting under the gums well enough to deep clean where it was needed. Not having the dental x-rays done sooner and only looking at the teeth with the naked eye, contributed to his tooth loss. After this I decided that getting deep cleanings done on him with anesthetic and dental x-rays was going to be the best for him.
Chica always seemed to have great teeth and no bad breath. I was happy that she seemed like my low maintenance dog. She had the non-anesthetic cleanings done a few times. Before her next visit, I noticed her gums seemed red, so I decided to get her scheduled for a deep cleaning with anesthetic and dental x-rays to ensure we were not missing anything. Sure enough when she had her deep cleaning, x-rays showed she had 10 teeth that needed to be extracted. How could this be if she like Chico did not seem uncomfortable and visually all her teeth seemed intact? Upon closer review, she had pockets in her gums that allowed for bacteria to go under her gums and get to the roots of her teeth. This caused loose teeth at the roots.
This was a big reality check for me. Due to my years of delaying their cleanings because of my own personal worries about anesthetic, I put my pets at risk of dental disease and pain. If I would have done the deep cleaning with x-rays sooner, I may have been able to delay the need for extractions. Luckily, their pre-anesthetic lab work did not show any affects of the dental bacteria affecting their organs as I know that this is something else to take in consideration when talking about the importance of dental care. Many pets can have their liver, kidneys, or heart affected by the bacteria in the blood stream due to bad teeth. Delaying deep cleanings can be very dangerous for your pets health.
The next step for me to take is to increase the maintenance that is done at home on their teeth. This again takes all the effort on my part to do. My dogs are not going to pull the toothpaste out and ask to get their teeth brushed. I have to do it for them and also they are now both set on a 6 month deep cleaning regimen with dental x-rays to help ensure they have the best dental health as this will help them live longer happier lives.
Due to the importance of dental health, we offer deep dental cleanings which include x-rays at a 25% off discount to help make it more affordable. Do not delay your pet’s dental care. We want your pets to live long healthy lives!
Written By Susan L. From Pet Hospital