Pet Talk: animal dentistry
Over my 27 years as a Veterinarian here in the Vail Valley, I have observed so many changes in our profession, as our so many technological advances have come into play. For example, the old days of hand developing x-rays for pets and humans are gone with the onset of digital x-rays, which give us immediate results, and allow us to quickly send the x-rays over the web for multiple specialists to review.
We have advances in ultrasound, another method of imaging your pet, and humans, which allows us to look at the soft tissues and organs and have instant results. We can even send those images across the web for immediate specialist review.
In addition, we now have laboratory analysis machines that allow us to assess your pet’s internal health instantly just with a simple few drops of blood.
But, one of the most critical advances we have observed in our profession is dental related. From the days of pull the loose teeth, and ignore the other types of damage to the oral cavity, our profession has begun to make huge strides in providing far higher quality dental care for your pet.
For starters, those of us who have elected to progress in our practices have begun to use dental radiography routinely. What we have learned is that just merely running off to the cheapest dental clinic and getting our pet’s teeth cleaned, really isn’t providing the best care for our pets, anymore than for ourselves. When your pet receives dental cleaning, just merely looking at the teeth is comparable to looking at the tip of an iceberg.
These teeth have very long roots, and without dental radiography, your pet could have an abscessing, broken or damaged tooth without you even knowing, as we all know, our pets cannot talk. In addition, if a tooth is extracted, and a root is left behind, this can be a chronic source of pain and infection for your pet.
Thus, with the recent progressive advances in pet dental care, we are now able to detect pathology in your pet’s mouth far before they begin to stop eating, excessively salivating, or showing you they are in pain.
We are thankful we now live in a progressive age for pet care and are able to give our pets a longer, healthier life. Ask your veterinarian about advances in their hospital and how you can better prevent disease in your pet long term.
Sheila Fitzpatrick, DVM, is the owner of Mountain Animal Hospital Center and Mobile Veterinarian.