If your pet’s bad breath is ruining your snuggle sessions, the smell may be doing more than driving you apart. Bad breath is one of the signs of dental disease in pets, among others. Unfortunately, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 85% of pets will have some form of dental disease by the time they are three years of age.
Fortunately, dental disease in pets is preventable in most cases.
Preventive dental exams and cleanings require general anesthesia to preserve oral health. Just like humans, pet teeth accumulate tartar and plaque. Without regular cleanings, periodontal disease develops, leading to severe gingivitis, decay, and eventually tooth loss. Periodontal disease progresses to a point where more advanced therapies are often needed if left untreated. In addition to decay and infection in the mouth, trauma, genetic tooth problems, oral cancer, and immune-mediated dental diseases can all go undetected and require specialized care.
Advanced Pet Dental Care
These complicated dental issues often require the care of a veterinarian with specialized training and expertise in pet dentistry. Luckily, our dentistry department at BEVS is led by Bill Kellner, DVM, who has over 25 years of experience and specialized training in veterinary dentistry. In addition, Dr. Kellner has trained under some of the leading dental experts in veterinary medicine and has advanced training in anesthesia and pain management.
If your pet needs advanced dental care, you may receive a referral to BEVS from your family veterinarian. The specialized dentistry we provide includes procedures that require additional training and expertise.
These include, and are not limited to:
Endodontics – Root canal and vital pulp therapy treats diseased or injured pulp (the delicate tissue inside the tooth).
Feline dentistry – Feline tooth resorption is a common problem in cats, and the cause is unknown. This painful condition progressively destroys the tooth’s root and crown. Feline stomatitis is another condition where chronic inflammation affects the mouth’s soft tissues. We have the training, expertise, and equipment to effectively treat these complicated and painful problems to help your cat feel their best.
Maxillofacial surgery – Advanced techniques allow us to repair broken jaws caused by trauma or disease and excise lymph nodes as warranted for cancer staging.
Oral surgery – Tooth extractions often require the dentist to go deep under the gum line, create a gingival flap, split a multi-rooted tooth, and drill away bone. A veterinary oral surgeon uses surgical techniques to remove a tooth and tooth roots into the alveolar bone. We also offer oral tumor removal and gingival hyperplasia treatment.
Orthodontics – We can correct malocclusions (an improper bite). This painful condition affects chewing and increases the risk of tooth and possibly jaw fractures.
Periodontics – We often treat gingivitis and periodontitis (including dental infection and bone loss) using advanced techniques such as root planing, bone grafts, guided tissue regeneration, and advanced gun flap surgeries.
Prosthodontics – When a tooth is injured or at increased risk of fracture, we may recommend a crown as part of your pet’s treatment plan. Crowns, made of metal alloys or zirconia, are custom-made for each tooth and can provide peace of mind that your pet’s tooth is protected and as strong as it can be.
Restorations – We may recommend tooth restoration to treat and repair cavities or fractured teeth if the pulp is not exposed, and for enamel defects.
Senior and fragile pet dental care – In addition to complete diagnosis, older pets and those with health conditions need long-term dental treatment planning that considers their age and other underlying health concerns. Our team is highly trained in anesthesia and pain management techniques that consider the unique needs of these patients.
The Importance of Dental Imaging
None of these procedures would be possible without proper imaging of your pet’s mouth and surrounding structures. Therefore, dental radiography is essential to diagnose your pet’s dental disease and treat it appropriately and successfully.
You can think of your pet’s teeth as icebergs – only about one-third of what’s going on is visible, and the rest of the story is under the surface of the gum line. Therefore, dental imaging is required to visualize the structures under the gumline, the tooth root, the tooth’s socket and surrounding bone, and the periodontal ligament that attaches the root to the bone.
For example, evaluating these structures allows us to determine the degree of bone loss, the severity of a tooth or jaw fracture, the presence of an abscess, and evaluate feline tooth resorption. To do this, we use a complete digital radiography system customized for dentistry to diagnose these successfully and many other dental health problems, establish treatment plans more efficiently and minimize your pet’s anesthesia time.
We also offer computed tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) at BEVS. These non-invasive imaging modalities provide state-of-the-art, highly accurate 3-D images that ensure successful treatment planning for facial trauma, tumors, masses, jaw joint disease, and other specialized dental treatments. These two advanced imaging modalities offer our team a unique perspective, as they are not commonly part of primary veterinary practices.
A Word About Anesthesia
At BEVS, we perform professional dental care using general anesthesia, a key aspect and standard of care for accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment of dental disease. In addition to these reasons, a primary benefit of anesthesia is the increased safety and decreased pain for your pet. We will place an endotracheal tube for inhalant anesthesia to protect your pet’s lungs by preventing them from inhaling water and tartar.
If you have questions or concerns about anesthesia, please call us with any questions. We take anesthesia safety seriously!
To ensure our patient’s safety during anesthesia, we will:
- Perform a complete physical exam before anesthesia
- Review recent blood work results
- Take a detailed medical history (including a review of your pet’s medical records from their primary veterinarian)
- Tailor an individual anesthetic plan for your pet
On the day of your pet’s procedure, we will dedicate an experienced and skilled veterinary nurse anesthetist to monitor your pet’s anesthetic and pain management needs. Our team receives specialized training for this role. Some of the parameters that are closely monitored by our team include the following:
- Body temperature
- Heart rate
- End-tidal CO2 levels
- Oxygen saturation
- Blood pressure
- Pain control
- Respiratory rate
- Inhalant flow rate and depth of anesthesia
We use the latest anesthetic protocols and progressive pain management techniques, and medications to keep dentistry patients comfortable during and after dental procedures.
A Specialized Collaboration
One of the most beneficial things about having your pet treated at BEVS is our collaborative approach to pet health. Having a team of surgery, dentistry, and internal medicine experts under one roof ensures that each patient has access to the very best care.
Your pet relies on you for thorough dental care. The basics of daily tooth brushing at home, routine exams, and dental cleanings with your primary veterinarian are essential parts of your pet’s oral health plan. Some may benefit from care with a veterinarian experienced in advanced dentistry and oral surgery. We welcome your call at 802-863-2387 if you would like to schedule an appointment or have any questions.