Ash Veterinary Clinic


Is there hope for bad breath?

When animals come in to Ash Veterinary Clinic and Emergency Center for a dental cleaning, one of the toughest topics to discuss with owners is tooth extractions. Your pet may need a tooth extracted when the tooth is badly decayed, mobile or when there is a serious infection affecting the tooth. Contrary to most owners’ beliefs, pets can function and eat quite well with missing, rotting and painful teeth. Since February is National Pet Dental Month, we want to make every pet owner aware of what a professional teeth cleaning entails and what changes it will make for your pet after the cleaning.

There are a few reasons why your pet may need a tooth extracted. If it is badly decayed and infected and cannot be treated otherwise, if the teeth are badly fractured and the nerve is exposed or if the teeth are mobile which can be caused by periodontal disease and bone loss. Cats can also be affected with resorptive lesions on their teeth or gum line, which need to be extracted before they cause any more health problems.

If you have a dog, you should be able to identify dental disease. If caught early, most dental disease can be helped with a routine dental cleaning and some recommended chews that are helpful in decreasing tartar along with brushing if you are able.  The biggest thing owners complain of when their pet has dental disease is bad breath. Owners may also notice drooling, red and swollen gums, lack of appetite or their pet pawing at the mouth. These are all indicators that your pet is dealing with some sort of mouth problem and should be addressed.

During your pet’s dental cleaning under anesthesia, the veterinarian will do a full mouth examination and decide if an extraction is necessary. Your pet will be under anesthesia already, so they will feel no pain from the affected tooth being professionally extracted. Some teeth are already loose, so they come out with a gentle tug. Your veterinarian may have to work harder on teeth that are infected, but still sturdy and will use a dental bur to cut the tooth. Here at Ash Veterinary Clinic and Emergency Center, after a tooth is extracted we do dental x-rays to ensure that the extraction was successful and the entire root is extracted. Without these x-rays, if a piece of the root has been left, the mouth can develop and even worse infection or abscess.

                After the extraction, to prevent infections and to relieve pain, your veterinarian will prescribe some medications for your pet which include antibiotics and pain medications. Pets heal very quickly in their mouths, so they usually need pain medication for 2-3 days. By the time your pet is awake from anesthesia and ready to go home, they may be ready to eat. Some pets may need a canned or soft diet for 2 to 5 days after the procedure while others go back to eating their hard kibble immediately.

While your pet is on medication, you should ensure that their mouth stays healthy. It does not usually happen, but in some cases, infections can occur. Infections are signaled by local swelling, redness, pain, foul odor, pus and fever. If you notice any of these in your pet after a dental extraction, call your veterinarian immediately.

                Tooth extractions can be prevented if your pet gets regular teeth brushing and dental chews. Be careful using national brand dental treats. They are high in calories and need to be given every day in order for them to be helpful. If the teeth are not properly cleaned, they will be prone to decay. The minerals and bacteria from saliva and food residue can attack the enamel, causing cavities. Tartar deposits can lead to gum and periodontal disease and mobile teeth. The #1 thing to do is to brush your pet’s teeth 2-3 or more times per week. That is not always possible for many reasons. The next best thing is the enzymatic chews, like CET Chews, that you give 2-3 times per week and are extremely effective.

                 Tooth extraction is not always necessary and you should discuss your alternatives with your veterinarian. In some cases, endodontics may be possible to save the tooth, but can be very expensive. Remember that February is National Pet Dental Month. Please call Ash Veterinary Clinic and Emergency Center in Carleton at 734-782-2827 to schedule a dental cleaning or oral exam for your pet. All dental cleanings in February will be receiving the national 20% discount, so make sure to get your pet in before the end of the month!

[4:06:25 PM] Dianne Raftopoulos: