What’s That Smell?

Most pet parents associate canine and feline dentistry with the need to “fix bad breath”. That is one of many components behind why veterinarians recommend annual dentistry. But, bad breath can be more than just smelly and gross.There are many causes of bad breath in your pet. Some may be obvious – that tasty rodent, rear-end sniffs, or delicacy of another animal’s…well, you get the idea.

One of the most common reasons pets have halitosis, or “bad breath”, is due to bacterial buildup leading to the formation of plaque and tartar.Gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, can also be attributed to bad breath, especially once gingivitis progresses. This advancement of the disease is what can cause tooth and bone loss, known as periodontal disease. Just like in human dentistry, the terminology and diseases are similar.

Humans just brush their teeth more frequently to minimize the issues around gingivitis and periodontal disease. The primary cause of the bad breath is attributed to the bacteria that causes the tooth and bone decay. The smell is because the bacteria creates sulfur and that compound can also cause further decay and bone loss.

Dogs’ breed and age can also be a factor contributing to the development of dental disease and bad breath;smaller dogs and certain breeds may be more prone.h. And dogs aren’t alone! Certain cat breeds and exotic felines are also clinically known for having issues with halitosis.

But, did you know there are other reasons pets can have bad breath? Gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, oral tumors, respiratory infections – all of these other disease states can also contribute to bad breath issues. If you recall from our earlier blog, that is why this annual dental cleaning is more than just professional cleaning. The COHAT (comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment) helps us to ensure that your pet’s oral health is properly assessed and addressed to rule out additional periodontal health concerns.

As you schedule your pet’s annual preventive exams, please remember to schedule your pet’s annual dental exam and procedure. Our goal is to have the best health outcomes to ensure your pet has as many happy, healthy years as possible.
Dr. Karina Ballester, DVM, MPH

Why Does My Pet Need an Anesthetized Dental Procedure?

In our last blog, you learned about the comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment(COHAT) we use to evaluate and treat your pet’s teeth and gums.  Today’s article will educate about the “what next” step in how we approach dentistry for your pet at Neuse River Veterinary Hospital.

After we evaluate your pet’s teeth and gums with a visual exam, probing, and, most importantly, dental radiographs, our next step is to address any issues we may have found, which often requires extracting some teeth and cleaning others.  Think in human terms for dental cleaning with this procedure.  The primary difference is your dentist can instruct you to keep your mouth open and head title a certain way.  Your dental team can thoroughly clean your teeth, and your dentist can examine the health of each tooth.  And, likely, you aren’t going to bite your providers or aggressively try to escape!

The anesthetized COHAT allows us to clean, treat, extract and/or repair your pet’s teeth safely and effectively. The X-rays we take allow us to evaluate the health of the pet’s teeth, jaw, and gums.  You may not know this, but most diseases occur below the gumline in pets.  The anesthetized procedure allows us to thoroughly clean and make further evaluations impossible when your pet is active.  The cleaning process, or “scaling”, allows us to remove plaque and tartar and polish the teeth for good oral health.

With this form of sedation, your medical team can perform dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet.  Our governing body, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), does not recommend anesthesia-free dental cleaning because it doesn’t allow for proper inspection below the gumline and can be a source of injury to the pet and medical team during the procedure.

Some pet parents have asked about the safety of anesthesia during this procedure.  While there are always minor risks associated with sedation, our anesthetic protocols are very safe and continue to improve with low side effects.  Almost all pets return home on the same day of the procedure.

Your pet’s COHAT, anesthetized dental cleaning, and preventive care are essential pieces of your pet’s overall healthcare.  Our medical team is continuously trained on important techniques, medications, and products to ensure the best outcome for your four-legged friend.

Dr. Karina Ballester, DVM MPH