Dental Care

Along with parasite control and immunization, dental care is at the top of the list of the best and most cost-effective ways to prevent illness and disease in a companion animal. Here at Hillsdale Veterinary Hospital, we are very concerned about your pet’s oral health.

Research shows that over 75% of dogs and cats suffer from tooth and gum disease by the time they reach 4 years of age, so it’s extremely common for pets to have bad breath, missing teeth, and mouth pain. Most pet owners don’t notice the problems their pets have with eating because animals—like people—instinctively avoid doing whatever causes pain, as much as possible. So you may think all is well in your pet’s mouth, but your animal’s teeth might be killing him. Literally.

In animals, just as in people, gum disease and tooth abscesses create pathways for germs in the mouth to enter the bloodstream. Traveling throughout the body, these microorganisms are free to attack cells of any organ or tissue--and thus can cause acute or chronic diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys, blood vessels, or joints; stress the immune system; and shorten the pet's lifespan. The best way to keep your pet from experiencing these health-stealing complications is to ensure she receives regular dental cleanings.

Through his training and experience in providing dental care to animals, Dr. Baker is qualified to perform the dental work that dogs and cats need for optimum oral health. So that these procedures are painless and stress-free, he administers a general anesthetic before the oral examination and any dental work are begun.

In the oral exam, Dr. Baker checks the animal's teeth for visible decay or damage, and the gums for disease and infection. He then scrapes away the tartar that has built up on the visible surfaces of the teeth. In some cases, plaque has also built up under the gum lines, which Dr. Baker detaches with the help of an advanced ultrasonic scaling tool. (When a healthy-looking tooth develops an abcess, becomes loose, or falls out, this hidden plaque can often be the reason.) There are times when Dr. Baker will use his X-ray equipment to look for hidden sites of infection or tooth decay; or to verify the condition of tissues holding the teeth in place. Unfortunately, not all teeth can be saved; sometimes Dr. Baker has to remove teeth because they are beyond repair or severely abscessed. Just prior to waking his patient from anesthesia, Dr. Baker applies OraVet ® to the teeth--a product that prevents plaque-causing bacteria from attaching to the teeth, and so decreases the future formation of tartar.

Will your pet notice a difference, after his teeth have been cleaned? You bet! Eating should be one of the delights of your pet’s life. You may not realize how painful chewing has become for your pet until you see, after years of dental tartar have been removed, how excited he becomes once again about eating.

To help ensure your pet enjoys his food--and the best health for as long as possible--Dr. Baker recommends that a dental examination and cleaning be done on an adult animal every 1 to 2 years.