We don’t clean pet’s teeth just to give them a pretty smile and fresh breath (although fresh breath is nice!). Because dogs and cats don’t brush and floss, tarter builds up on their teeth, leading to periodontal disease. This disease can progress to abscessed teeth, which are very painful, leading to interfere with the pets’ ability to eat properly. The chronic low-grade infections that accompany periodontal disease often spread to other parts of the body, especially the bladder, kidneys, and heart valves. Pets can suffer from bladder infections and even kidney or heart failure. Research shows that pets will live 2 to 3 more years longer if their teeth are cleaned when necessary.
Cleaning pets’ teeth requires general anesthesia. People, it seems, are the only species willing to sit still, with their mouths wide open for more than half and hour. While there is always some risk with anesthesia, it is very small compared to the risk of serious health problems from untreated periodontal disease. Blood work is required for middle-aged and older pets prior to anesthesia, so that the safest drugs can be chosen. Antibiotics are prescribed before and after, to prevent the spread of bacteria from the mouth.
We know owners are frequently concerned about the risk of anesthesia, especially for older pets. There is always a risk with aesthesia, human and animal, but advances in medication and monitoring equipment have reduced those significantly over the past decade. The risk of potentially fatal heart or kidney disease in pets with untreated periodontal disease is much greater than the risk of anesthesia.
Unfortunately, we no longer offer dental cleanings. We do, however, work closely with several local vets that offer reasonable pricing. Contact us for more information.