Your pet's oral health is about more than fresh breath! Advanced dental disease can cause illness elsewhere in the body as bacteria enters the bloodstream through inflamed gums. This can cause infection in the kidneys, liver - even the heart!
Dental disease is also painful. As tartar builds up, the gums become red and irritated. Tartar buildup creeps below the gumline, eventually eating away at the structures that secure the teeth. A loose tooth is a painful tooth!
What is a dental prophylaxis?
A dental prophylaxis (or dental cleaning) is the only way to thoroughly remove tartar buildup from all of your pet's teeth and allow for a "clean slate" to provide at-home oral care & maintenance (and hopefully prevent the need for future anesthetic procedures)
For your pet's safety and to ensure a thorough cleaning, this procedure must be performed under general anesthesia. Precautions are taken to optimize safety, such as pre-anesthetic bloodwork, EKG & radiographs of the chest to detect abnormalities that may affect your pet's ability to handle anesthesia. All pets are monitored both manually and with electronic biometric equipment throughout anesthesia.
Once under sedation, we use an ultrasonic cleaner to remove all traces of tartar that has accumulated on the surfaces of the teeth, as well as the calculus that we cannot see below the gumline.
We use a special probing instrument to measure the gingival depth surrounding each tooth. This helps us locate pockets of bone loss that may identify a diseased tooth that otherwise appears healthy to the naked eye.
In addition to physical measurement, we use dental radiography to locate signs of disease.
Look at tooth #105 in this photo. To view it from the outside, it looks perfectly normal - but the dark shadows around the root in the dental x-ray reveal bone loss all around. This is a diseased tooth that will cause pain and discomfort very soon if not extracted.
We ask for pre-authorization for extractions when you drop your pet off for his procedure. Our goal is to minimize anesthetic time, and don't want to extend it if we're unable to reach you by phone.
Know that we only perform extractions if absolutely necessary (i.e. the tooth is or will soon be causing pain to your pet). The veterinarian will use local anesthetic injections prior to extracting diseased teeth, and post-operative laser therapy is performed afterwards to minimize inflammation and jump-start the healing process.
Can't I just brush my pet's teeth?
YES, we strongly encourage everyone to include daily toothbrushing in their pet's routine. However, brushing alone is not enough to remove tartar that has already hardened on the teeth. It's as tough as cement, and adheres so strongly to the surface of the tooth that it must be removed manually with an ultrasonic cleaner.
After we've removed all the calculus, we polish your pet's teeth with a fluoride toothpaste (using a prophy cup just like at your dentist). This smooths out any microscopic scratches from the cleaning and provides a clean surface for you to start at-home oral maintenance.
How much does it cost?
Because every case is unique, we will provide a written treatment plan with an estimated range at the time of recommendation. The size of your pet and the severity of dental disease are the primary reasons for variation.
February is National Dental Health Month - check out our special offers here!
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An important message from your pet providers at Tender Touch Veterinary Hospital:
Dr. Brandi Cox has taken a position as a relief veterinarian to offer care throughout the Pittsburgh region. Unfortunately, this means that we will no longer be providing services for exotic pets.
Effective immediately, we will only be accepting canine and feline patients.
As a relief veterinarian, Dr. Cox will not be associated with a permanent location; she will fill in as a temporary caregiver when regular doctors are unable to be in their respective clinics. **Please understand that we are not able to provide you with Dr. Cox's personal cell phone number.**
It is important to us that you have access to continued veterinary care for your pets.
We have compiled a list of exotic practices around the area for your convenience (see reference list below). We've also marked them on a map for time/distance and custom directions to each location from your home: https://goo.gl/maps/cAcbVZkQZLB2
Please let us know your chosen practice and we will forward your pet’s medical records.
This information allows your new veterinarian to review subtle changes in weight, vital signs, lab results, physical exam findings, and more. Having a complete history is useful when assessing future medical concerns.
Thank you for entrusting us with your pet’s health over the past several years. It has been a wonderful opportunity to have grown to know and love your unusual pets. We appreciate your understanding and wish you and family health and happiness!
West Liberty Animal Hospital
3055 W. Liberty Ave
Pittsburgh PA 15216
Good Shepherd Veterinary Hospital
101 Fox Trot Dr
Mars PA 16046
All Pet Animal Hospital
5354 William Flynn Hwy
Gibsonia PA 15044
4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville PA 15146
Northview Animal Hospital
(Jennilee Morrison DVM DAVP – Avian, Dr. Pleban Oberst, & Dr. Zetwo)
223 Siebert Rd
Pittsburgh PA 15237
(Dr. Wells & Dr. Runcy)
2810 Washington Rd
McMurray PA 15317
20411 Perry Hwy
Cranberry Twp PA 16066
Protecting pets and people is the top priority here, and that's why vaccination is required by PA State Law. Recent amendments to the law may affect you as a pet owner, so we're sharing some key points:
A false account of a "neighbor's 5-year-old German Shepherd put down due to liver failure...and soon after his housekeepers' two cats also died of liver failure" has resurfaced. The message declares that Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution poisoned all the animals in the house just by using it to clean the kitchen floor.
Know that THIS IS FALSE INFORMATION that has been circulating since May 2004, and it has been brought back to life via social media (there are already 19,000 comments on the post in the image taken just 10 days ago).
We encourage everyone to read this article originally published by Snopes in May 2004. It contains important information, including a statement from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control toxicologists (direct link to press release is in the article) that explain thoroughly why this is nothing but a myth.
The Internet is a great way to share information, but if something alarms you, investigate it further. Things like this that don't cite sources or appear to come from legitimate experts are all too often created just to incite fear and cause harm to big companies without cause.