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Posted on 06-21-2018

Why is it a good idea to get regular dental cleanings?

When you go to kiss your sweet pooch on the face, do you back away with a scrunched up nose because the mouth smells awful? If so, your pet probably needs to come in and see Dr. Melanie Wood! Just the same as you and I go in for routine cleanings every 6 months, our pets should be coming in for routine cleanings also. By doing so, you cut down on the number of teeth the animal will need to lose and can also help them feel better and cut down on your vet bills! A routine cleaning can cost $250-300 when you do it but if the mouth has gotten out of control and oral surgery needs performed, a simple cleaning can turn into a $600-$800 bill!

What if I brush my pet’s teeth? Isn’t that enough?

NO! To occasionally brush the teeth is a waste of your time and probably more of a pain than it is doing any good. Once there is already tartar build up, that is not going to come off with just a tooth brush. That requires the animal to be under general anesthesia and for us to use our dental machine to scale each tooth. There are things at home that the Veterinary Oral Health Council recommends to help you go longer without needing a cleaning. Click this link http://www.vohc.org/all_accepted_products.html to take you to their website to see what they recommend!

What if my dog’s teeth look fine from the outside?

The beauty of today’s technology allows us to be able to see what is going on beneath the crown of the tooth. Here at Main Street Animal Hospital, we are equipped with dental radiography and therefore we can help save teeth that don’t need to come out or we can spot teeth that no one suspected and get them out of the mouth before they cause more harm. A lot of the time, the tooth can look perfectly normal but have an abscess brewing underneath or have a deep pocket which will eventually lead to infection and potentially a fractured root or something worse. We do dental radiographs on every patient to double check that what we see on the outside is the true story. Below are some pictures that show what a dog's teeth can look like on the outside, the radiographs showing the same teeth with bone loss and a giant pocket around the entire root and a picture showing the teeth after they were pulled.

How do I know if my pet needs a cleaning?

*Painful when chewing, picking up their food and dropping it or not wanting to eat at all

*Visibly only chewing on one side of the mouth

*Drooling and pawing at the mouth or rubbing face into the carpet

*Visible tartar and plaque

*Bad breath

*Swelling of the face

*mobility of the teeth, teeth falling out

Are certain breeds prone to bad teeth?

Yes! Small breed dogs typically need more work on their mouths a lot sooner than larger breeds. Small breeds have a lot of teeth packed into a tight area and therefor have more crevices for bacteria and tartar to build up. Having an under bite and over bite can also cause issues where the mouth doesn’t occlude properly and the teeth begin to wear on each other in incorrect places. Shorter face breeds tend to have malocclusions and too many teeth packed into such a small mouth so they tend to be your breeds that we see the most often where the teeth just need to come out!

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