Dentistry

Dental disease is very painful. A dog or cat will often become more irritable and sometimes even snappish due to the pain. Once a dog or cat has dental disease, without treatment it will get worse, so if your pet has signs of dental disease get him/her to the vet for treatment. The sooner you get your pet treated, the better chance you will have of preventing damage in your pet’s mouth.

Common signs of canine or feline dental problems include:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Build up of yellow brown deposits on teeth by gums
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums, particularly where teeth and gum meet
  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Trouble eating
  • Obvious pain when biting on hard foods
  • Drooling (increased production of saliva)

Boca Palms Animal Hospital provides your pet with a complete array of advanced veterinary dental care services. We perform comprehensive professional dental cleanings, digital dental x-rays, complicated oral surgeries and tooth extractions, and other advanced pet dental procedures. To schedule a Complimentary Dental Evaluation of your pet’s mouth, please call 561-395-4030 to schedule.

Our dental procedure is a complete and thorough assessment of your pet’s oral health and not just a “cleaning“. Compare our procedure with others and see what makes us different.

You brush your teeth twice a day and visit the dentist at least once a year – but does your pet have the same sort of dental care regimen? Clean teeth and a healthy mouth are extremely important for your pet. Plaque and tartar build-up on your pet’s teeth can lead to periodontal disease. If left untreated, periodontal disease can eventually cause other serious health problems in your pet and can be painful. This makes dental care a must for your pet.

Our dental procedure includes:

1. Pre-anesthetic exam to minimize risk of anesthesia (including pre-op bloodwork to assess liver and kidney function)
2. Intravenous catheter placement and IV fluids to ensure a direct line in case emergency drugs are needed, to maintain blood pressure and to maintain hydration.
3. Full mouth digital dental radiographs (x-rays) to assess the health of each tooth below the gum line.
4. Evaluation of dental radiographs by a board-certified veterinary dentist.
5. Ultrasonic dental cleaning
6. Periodontal probing of each tooth to measure pocket depth to assess for periodontal disease.
7. Polishing
8. Flouride treatment
9. Doctor-client consultation of oral and radiographic findings at discharge of patient to discuss any additional recommended treatments

Our dental suite utilizes the latest in state-of-the-art equipment to provide the highest level of dental care for your pet. Digital dental radiography allows us to accurately assess your pet’s dental health. Patient monitoring equipment while under anesthesia includes a heart monitor, pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitor and respiratory monitor as well as a warm-water blanket to maintain your pet’s body temperature.

Does my pet need to have general anesthesia to have dentistry performed?

Yes. In order to provide a safe experience for your pet, general anesthesia is required. We understand that you are concerned about anesthesia so we take every precaution to minimize any risk.

The American Veterinary Dental College www.AVDC.org has posted a position statement on their website regarding this subject. It states:

In the United States and Canada, only licensed veterinarians can practice veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine includes veterinary surgery, medicine and dentistry. Anyone providing dental services other than a licensed veterinarian, or a supervised and trained veterinary technician, is practicing veterinary medicine without a license and shall be subject to criminal charges.

This statement addresses dental scaling procedures performed on pets without anesthesia, often by individuals untrained in veterinary dental techniques. Although the term “Anesthesia-Free Dentistry” has been used in this context, AVDC prefers to use the more accurate term Non-Professional Dental Scaling (NPDS) to describe this combination.

Dental tartar is firmly adhered to the tooth surface

Scaling to remove tartar is accomplished using ultrasonic and sonic power scalers, plus hand instruments that must have a sharp working edge to be used effectively. Even slight head movement by the patient could result in injury to the oral tissues of the patient, and the operator may be bitten when the patient reacts.

Removal of dental tartar on the visible surfaces of the teeth has little effect on a pet’s health, and provides a false sense of accomplishment; the effect is purely cosmetic.

Professional dental scaling includes scaling the surfaces of the teeth both above and below the gingival margin (gum line), followed by dental polishing. The most critical part of a dental scaling procedure is scaling the tooth surfaces that are within the gingival pocket (the subgingival space between the gum and the root), where periodontal disease is active. Because the patient cooperates, dental scaling of human teeth performed by a professional trained in the procedures can be completed successfully without anesthesia. However, access to the subgingival area of every tooth is impossible in an unanesthetized canine or feline patient.

Inhalation anesthesia provides three important advantages:

  • The cooperation of the patient with a procedure it does not understand.
  • Elimination of pain resulting from examination and treatment of affected dental tissues during the procedure.
  • Protection of the airway and lungs from accidental aspiration.

A complete oral examination is not possible in an unanesthetized patient.

Safe use of an anesthetic or sedative in a dog or cat requires evaluation of the general health and size of the patient to determine the appropriate drug and dose, and continual monitoring of the patient. Veterinarians are trained in all of these procedures. Prescribing or administering anesthetic or sedative drugs by a non-veterinarian can be very dangerous, and is illegal.

Although anesthesia will never be 100% risk-free, modern anesthetic and patient evaluation techniques used in veterinary hospitals minimize the risks, and millions of dental scaling procedures are safely performed each year in veterinary hospitals.

The lesions in these images would not be seen without the pet being under anesthesia and if x-rays were not taken. Saving a few dollars with non-anesthetic dentistry will end up costing more down the road when severe problems arise that could have been treated early on. Don’t sacrifice your pet’s oral health.

These pictures also clearly show the importance of x-rays in dental exams. At first glance, the tooth is normal looking. However, an X-ray shows the tooth is actually broken below the gum line.

Dental tartar is firmly adhered to the tooth surface

Scaling to remove tartar is accomplished using ultrasonic and sonic power scalers, plus hand instruments that must have a sharp working edge to be used effectively. Even slight head movement by the patient could result in injury to the oral tissues of the patient, and the operator may be bitten when the patient reacts.

Removal of dental tartar on the visible surfaces of the teeth has little effect on a pet’s health, and provides a false sense of accomplishment; the effect is purely cosmetic.

Professional dental scaling includes scaling the surfaces of the teeth both above and below the gingival margin (gum line), followed by dental polishing. The most critical part of a dental scaling procedure is scaling the tooth surfaces that are within the gingival pocket (the subgingival space between the gum and the root), where periodontal disease is active. Because the patient cooperates, dental scaling of human teeth performed by a professional trained in the procedures can be completed successfully without anesthesia. However, access to the subgingival area of every tooth is impossible in an unanesthetized canine or feline patient.

Inhalation anesthesia provides three important advantages:

  • The cooperation of the patient with a procedure it does not understand.
  • Elimination of pain resulting from examination and treatment of affected dental tissues during the procedure.
  • Protection of the airway and lungs from accidental aspiration.

A complete oral examination is not possible in an unanesthetized patient.

Safe use of an anesthetic or sedative in a dog or cat requires evaluation of the general health and size of the patient to determine the appropriate drug and dose, and continual monitoring of the patient. Veterinarians are trained in all of these procedures. Prescribing or administering anesthetic or sedative drugs by a non-veterinarian can be very dangerous, and is illegal.

Although anesthesia will never be 100% risk-free, modern anesthetic and patient evaluation techniques used in veterinary hospitals minimize the risks, and millions of dental scaling procedures are safely performed each year in veterinary hospitals.

The lesions in these images would not be seen without the pet being under anesthesia and if x-rays were not taken. Saving a few dollars with non-anesthetic dentistry will end up costing more down the road when severe problems arise that could have been treated early on. Don’t sacrifice your pet’s oral health.

These pictures also clearly show the importance of x-rays in dental exams. At first glance, the tooth is normal looking. However, an X-ray shows the tooth is actually broken below the gum line.

Maintaining Your Pet’s Dental Health At Home

To minimize the need for professional dental scaling procedures and to maintain optimal oral health, the AVDC recommends daily dental home care from an early age. This should include brushing or use of other effective techniques to retard accumulation of dental plaque, such as dental diets and chew materials. This, combined with periodic examination of the patient by a veterinarian and with dental scaling under anesthesia when indicated, will optimize life-long oral health for dogs and cats.

Products designed with your pet’s teeth in mind:

Visit our Pet Health Videos page in the Pet Education Center for a great instructional video on How To Brush Your Pet’s Teeth!