One of the things that set our business apart from other anesthesia-free dental cleaning businesses is our willingness to work with and refer to veterinarians. We believe that cleanings WITH anesthesia are sometimes the best solution for your pet. Our philosophy is to always try to provide the best care for your pet, and sometimes, that means referring you to a veterinarian if your pet has loose teeth, red or irritated gums or any other obvious ailments that we can see by looking at your dogs’ teeth. We’ve compiled a list of signs that your pet may not be a candidate for anesthesia-free cleaning and should probably visit a vet.
Note: This blog is not intended to replace veterinarian advice and we always recommend talking to your vet about your dogs’ oral health before making any decisions about their care.
Loose teeth are often a sign of dental disease and can often cause your pet a lot of pain. You should check your dog’s mouth for loose teeth regularly. We recommend including it in your daily brushing routine. Using your finger or your toothbrush gently push on each tooth and see if it moves. If you encounter any teeth that are loose you should schedule a vet appointment as soon as possible. We cannot offer extractions during our cleanings and since loose teeth are often a sign of dental disease, we will refer you to a vet if we find any loose teeth during a cleaning. However, some dogs, especially little dogs, will have loose front teeth (incisors) from birth. This may be because the tiny front teeth have such a small amount of root that they might not have much to hold on with.
Sometimes broken teeth can make a dog a better candidate for a vet visit than anesthesia-free dental cleanings. Small chips, breaks or slightly worn down teeth generally don’t cause issues for an anesthesia-free cleaning. The broken teeth you may want to talk to your vet about are ones that expose the root inside the tooth or are broken underneath the gum. Teeth that are broken but the broken piece is still attached are problematic as well and should be seen by a vet immediately.
Pockets or Exposed Roots
Once tartar builds up on the tooth, it slowly degrades the gum and eventually exposes the root of the tooth. Once the gum health is compromised, bacteria can begin to make its way deeper and deeper under the gum exposing roots and pockets and can eventually infect the bone. The larger back teeth have multiple roots and when the gum recedes enough, it can expose a “pocket” between these roots. This is an area where bacteria and infection can fester and can quickly become a more serious issue. A dog’s gums and teeth roots can be very sensitive which makes cleaning these areas without anesthesia painful and difficult. Often teeth with exposed pockets or roots require extraction to prevent infection and disease. Sometimes a vet may opt to leave the teeth in but perform a thorough cleaning on the exposed area. In these situations, anesthesia-free cleaning can be an excellent maintenance method since more frequent cleanings will be required to keep the exposed areas free of bacteria. Frequent brushing is also imperative to keep the pockets free of debris like food particles. If your dog has exposed roots or pockets, we recommend a trip to the vet to have your vet examine the problem areas and determine their severity.
If you are still unsure, we are happy to have you come in to one of our clinics and have one of our staff take a look. If for any reason we cannot complete the cleaning or refer you to a vet (even if we find a problem area half-way through the cleaning), we’ll refund you your deposit and there is no charge for the appointment.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions as well.
This blog post is part of our Pet Dental Health Month series for February. Learn more about our contests, ways to get a $20 coupon for your next cleaning, and other great content: click here.