Oral Health

One of the most devastating diseases that a pet can develop during its lifetime is dental disease.  Unfortunately, dental disease in its various stages is also one of the most common problems we see in our patients here.  However, through appropriate preventative measures and timely treatment of problems, we can deal with this problem before it presents a serious threat to your pet’s health.

At Big Rock Veterinary Hospital, we are very proud of the advanced level of dental services that we provide for our patients.  Our doctors have received additional training in dental techniques.  This level of training has allowed us to offer the latest and best care in veterinary dentistry.

You may be reading this because we have recommended that your pet receive a dental procedure, and we have provided you with a treatment plan and fee estimate.  We appreciate that you want to consider all of your options when you are faced with a major decision about your animal’s health, and we encourage you to ensure that your cat or dog is receiving the highest level of care.  When deciding where to have your pet’s dental procedure performed, make sure that you ask the following questions:

My pet is old.  Isn’t that a reason NOT to do a dental surgery and possible extractions?
Although certain changes can occur as our pets age, AGE itself is not a disease.  An infected, painful mouth is.  At Big Rock Veterinary Hospital, we want your pet’s senior years to be pain free and happy.  This means it is our job to eliminate anything causing chronic pain and inflammation.  Time after time we hear that resolving dental disease results in a pet “acting like a puppy or kitten again”. 

What type of anesthesia will my pet receive during the procedure, and what precautions do you take to minimize risk during the procedure?
At Big Rock Veterinary Hospital, your pet’s safety is our first concern.  All patients receive a thorough physical examination prior to any anesthetic being administered, and depending on your pet’s age and health status, laboratory tests are run to assess your animal’s ability to process and metabolize the anesthetic drugs.  An intravenous (IV) catheter is placed prior to anesthesia for the administration of drugs and fluids, as well as to provide the ability to rapidly administer treatment should your pet have a problem while under anesthesia.  IV fluids are given to your pet during the procedure to maintain normal blood pressure and to ensure that there is good circulation to vital organs.  Injectable and inhalant anesthetics are used in combination to provide a level of safety similar to what you find in human hospitals.  An endotracheal (breathing) tube is used to provide oxygen and inhalant anesthetics to your pet, while at the same time protecting the airways and lungs from water and debris that accumulate in the mouth during the procedure.  A veterinary technician, under the direct supervision of the attending veterinarian, uses state-of-the-art body function monitors, including pulse oximetry, EKG, and blood pressure measurement, to closely monitor your pet.

What kind of equipment do you use for dental procedures?
At Big Rock Veterinary Hospital, we use both power and hand instruments during our dental procedures.  Dental scaling (removal of accumulated plaque and tartar) is accomplished using a combination of a hand scaler along with a state-of-the-art ultrasonic water scaler.  The teeth are polished using a high-speed polishing cup virtually identical to the one that your dentist uses on you.  If extractions or other procedures are required, we have a high-speed dental drill with a full assortment of bits and burrs to make sure that the job is done correctly and completely.  We routinely use dental radiography to take x-rays of the teeth and surrounding bone to ensure that the roots are healthy, and to identify problems below the gum line so that they can be treated.  Two-thirds of the teeth are below the gum line and cannot be seen with the naked eye.  Without dental x-rays diseased and painful teeth would not be seen or treated correctly.  We use digital radiography in our dental suite so that we can take our x-rays faster and even transmit them to specialists for review if necessary.

What kind of post-cleaning treatment do you do to help slow and prevent the recurrence of dental disease?
At Big Rock Veterinary Hospital, we recommend several different post treatment options based on what you decide is the best option for you and your life-style.

My pet may require extractions of one or more teeth.  Doesn’t that hurt?  What pain control do you provide?
At Big Rock Veterinary Hospital, we take the comfort of our patients very seriously.  Extractions and other surgical procedures in the mouth are often uncomfortable during the first few days after the procedure.  We start by using long acting local anesthesia similar to what your dentist may use for dental procedures on you. We include pain medications in our anesthetic protocols to prevent your pet from experiencing pain upon waking up.  We send home oral pain medication as well to make the recovery easier and less painful.  We believe that it is never acceptable for your pet to be in pain, and we take immediate action to prevent and manage pain and discomfort that can occur from dental procedures and oral surgery.

What kind of follow-up care do you provide after the dental procedure?  Will you advise me on how to minimize and prevent recurrence of dental disease in my cat?
At Big Rock Veterinary Hospital, we routinely schedule a follow-up appointment at no charge after any kind of oral surgery to evaluate the healing process and ensure that everything is going well.  We are happy to address any questions or concerns you may have about your pet, before or after the procedure.  We are also very proactive in advising you on how to take care of your pet’s oral health at home.  Although we have the expertise and the equipment to deal with some of the worst dental problems, it always makes us smile to see our patients with healthy mouths.

We invite you to compare our standards to any veterinary facility; once you evaluate the level of care that your pet will receive at Big Rock Veterinary Hospital, we believe that your decision will be clear.