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If there was something you could do to increase the happy life of your pet by two to four years you would want to know about it! And I mean two to four calendar years not “dog” or “cat” years. That is why our national veterinary colleagues have dedicated an entire month to promote awareness to pet owners about the importance of dental disease. Oral health is one of the medical advancements that has brought people out of the dark ages living longer healthier lives and same with pets, we’re finding the wonderful benefits of providing dental care to our pets.

The concept that a pet is suffering from oral pain, infection, and inflammation that may not be apparent but is affecting their quality of life is a reality that may not always be fully appreciated… and often not understood by the pet owning public. Compromised dental health can affect a pet’s overall health, longevity, quality of life, and interaction with its owner without exhibiting obvious clinical signs of disease. (Bellows et al. – Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association – 2019)

At Altitude we’re here to help you understand what’s going on in your pets mouth and provide the solutions necessary to give them the freedom from suffering, pain, and disease that they need in a fear free maner. The first important step is bringing in your pet for an initial dental exam. These are usually complementary and no cost to you. After proper greetings with your pet we look at the teeth and stage them 1-4 based on the level of periodontal disease and anticipated preliminary treatments necessary.

Stages 1 & 2 have buildup on the teeth and mild to moderate gingivitis that requires scaling, polishing, irrigation, and sometimes subgingival scaling and antibiotics if mild pocketing exists. It is best to have your pets teeth treated at these stages since most of the disease is reversible and manageable.
Stage 3 is established periodontal disease with 25-50% attachment loss of the gingiva and surrounding structures to the tooth root. Advanced periodontal therapy is necessary including home dental care in order to keep some of these teeth healthy. Sometimes teeth in this phase are best extracted.
Stage 4 is advanced periodontal disease with >50% attachment loss and teeth in this stage are often best extracted since the conditions are difficult to reverse and are causing pain, inflammation, and disease to your pet.

After we’ve finished our oral exam, staged the overall health of the mouth, and addressed any other physical concerns, we share our findings and prepare a therapy plan with related fees. With informed consent we schedule and prepare for the planned anesthesia event where we carry out our more thorough dental exam and therapy plan in a 12 step process. It’s important to realize that only 40% of the tooth can be visualized during a conscious oral evaluation and depending on the temperament and cooperation of some pets, our conscious oral evaluation is not as complete as our anesthetized exam which always includes intraoral radiographs. For this reason there may be further treatment recommendations made at the time of the procedure.

At Altitude we want to provide the best possible care and treatments for your pet. At the time of your pets dental procedure, a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) is doing the scaling, polishing, and radiography. Oral surgeries including extractions are only performed by a licensed veterinarian. Anesthesia is tailored to your pet and allows us to carry out the dental procedures in the safest manner. There is someone trained and dedicated to monitoring your pet under anesthesia moment by moment to make sure your pet is doing well under anesthesia. Once the patient has recovered, a home care plan is prepared.

What about even more advanced dental treatment options? A broken jaw perhaps or a dead or broken tooth that has the pulp or nerve and blood supply of the tooth exposed fortunately has more options than just extractions! Dr. Angela Bell has advanced training and offers Endodontics like Root Canal Therapy and Vital Pulp Therapy.

Dental disease is very common in our “fanged” friends and the treatments are incredibly rewarding. Please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for a free dental exam where we can discuss treatments that will help your pet feel better. This offer is open all year round, not just February!