Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pet "Dental" is not the same as a Human "Dental"

It is understandable that as a pet owner, you would compare your own personal experience at the human dentist, to the type of experience you think your pet will get at our (or any) veterinary hospital that offers veterinary dentistry.
Words are not needed to know how he is feeling right now!

Whilst I don't want to insult my own lovely dentist who does do a very thorough job, I have heard many pet owners complain about the "pay alot for only 5 minutes in the chair".

All pet owners are pleasantly surprised once we talk them through what is actually involved in all dental procedures at Russell Vale Animal Clinic.  We know what we offer is thorough, appropriate and affordable. 

As a vet, I always educate my owners from their first visit on what is "normal" - whether it is skin, movement, ears, teeth.  I view pet owners as an extension of me.  Unless you, the pet owner, know what normal should be, then you are not going to appreciate the severity of any abnormality in your pet. 

Unless you, the pet owner, know that dental disease is actually the stuff under the gum - the part we can't see, then you will treat the brown stuff on the tooth as a bit of an eyesore, but not a problem. Or worse, you will see white teeth, and think that the teeth are normal. Sadly, many pristine looking teeth may harbour dental abscesses.  

Vets know that dental disease isn’t the stuff you see on the tooth surface... and as a result, all animals do require an anaesthetic and a complete oral cavity assessment, as, at the time of writing, I (nor any other person) do not possess Xray vision.

We don’t perform “dentals” at Russell Vale Animal Clinic, but rather a “Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment” (known as COHAT). 
We may use the term “dental”, as it is a common term, but it fails to fully describe what it is that we do.  Sadly, in most pets, we are actually treating disease, and like any disease, it needs thorough investigation, assessment and treatment - hence the COHAT!

Our COHAT is very comprehensive and includes

-          A full physical examination of your pet whilst they are awake. Blood tests and/or intravenous fluids are started.

NB the machine is in "Demo" mode
-          Sedation, and then a full general anesthetic, using equipment similar to that found in a human hospital (intubation, gaseous anaesthetic, and surgivet monitor – which does oxygenation, heart rate, carbon dioxide levels, temperature, ECG and blood pressure).

-          Probing of every single tooth in your pet’s head (if it is a cat it is usually 30 teeth, if a dog, usually 42 ).

-          Examination of the entire oral cavity (eg examining tonsils, back of the throat, underneath the tongue etc)

-          Our grade 1 procedures include up to two intra-oral radiographs and up to one simple extraction if necessary.

-          Our grade 2 procedures include up to four intra-oral radiographs and up to two simple extractions if necessary.
Dental radiographs are essential, but only a few
veterinary hospitals actually have them.
Do your homework, and choose a vet hospital that
performs veterinary dentistry WITH dental
radiographs, always!

-          Our grade 3 /4 mouths  are full mouth radiographs, and we often see  all sorts of things that we could not see with the naked eye.
-      With this information collated, we have a thorough picture of what is going on in your pet's mouth, we formulate a "Treatment Plan".
-      The Treatment plan can include periodontal therapy, extractions (simple and complicated), and even more complex oral procedures.

-          And finally, we are at the part that all of us think the "dental" is.. -the hand and ultrasonic scaling, polishing and fluoride treatment.

There is a lot more that is involved, but I wanted to share an overview.  Our "dentals" are appropriate in that they include dental radiographs, pain relief and antibiotic injections too.  We do not skimp on any essentials, nor do we cut corners.

We have packaged our dental services to be affordable for loving pet owners, as we hate that money comes in the way of doing what needs to be done. 

A "pet” dental is  simply not the same as an “human” dental. 

As for the "human" five minutes in the chair?  Your pet's dental procedure (including check up etc) can range from 30 minutes to up to 4-5 hours (in those really really bad mouths).   I know I would prefer my pet to have a 30 minute procedure each year to a 4-5 hour one once in its lifetime!

Often we get phone calls from loving pet owners who have been to ABC vet hospital, now wanting a price on a “grade 2 “ dental. 
Why not come in and visit us instead?   Virtually all who have come in to see us, have booked their pet in at the time.... a testament to the quality of the dental services we are able to offer every pet.

Smiling pets... happy and healthy... that is what we want!

A dental check is free with us all year round - a no obligation vet visit where we can weigh your pet, check its microchip, give them lots of liver treats, and make it as pain free for them (and for you too  as it is free). 
 Most importantly, work towards the healthy mouths of all Australian pets.

I am the mad Dr Liz, and I am the vet at Russell Vale Animal Clinic.  We are for Happy, Healthy Pets... Always.  
A pet's good  health  starts in the mouth. Why not come in with your pet for their free Dental Check - any time of the year.

 To find out more you can visit our website.