Mon–Fri: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Pet Dentistry

Take Care of Your Pet's Teeth

Dental COHAT

(Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment & Treatment)

Oral cavity health and dental care are very important to your pet’s overall health. It is NOT normal for our pets to have mouths that look or smell like a septic system.

Poor dental health and subsequent periodontal disease, tooth root abscess formation, or fractured teeth cause chronic pain and can predispose your pet to bacterial spread into other major organ systems such as the liver, kidneys, and cardiovascular systems. Managing oral health during early stages of dental disease can prevent the development of pain and infection. If your pet has already progressed into a more advanced stage of dental disease do not lose hope! Effectively diagnosing and properly treating your pet’s condition can and will help restore high quality of life.

A dental procedure for most patients is much more than a simple teeth cleaning & polishing. What was previously referred to as a Dental Prophy is now termed Dental COHAT considering the procedure is rarely a simple cleaning. The acronym COHAT stands for Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment. In many cases the procedure includes treatments such as antibiotic gel implantation or some form of oral surgery such as gingival resection or tooth extraction(s). Endodontics and orthodontics are additional components of dentistry but, if needed, likely require referral to a veterinary dental specialist.

At Airport Animal Hospital a Dental COHAT involves the following:

General Anesthesia:

Inhalant gas anesthetic is delivered via an endotracheal tube to maintain general anesthesia during the dental procedure. Tracheal intubation allows for direct delivery of oxygen and gas anesthesia into your pet’s airway and lungs. The tube and cuff help secure the airway and help prevent the aspiration of fluids from the oral cavity into the lungs.

Anesthetic & Surgical Monitoring:

Our DVMs and CVTs use high tech monitoring equipment to constantly monitor your pet’s heart and respiratory rates, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide saturations, blood pressure, and ECG waveform while under anesthesia to help minimize the risk of complications developing. This data helps our trained staff monitor your pet’s stability and depth of anesthesia, and whether adjustments to gas anesthetic, IV fluid rate, patient warming methods, or administration of other medications may be warranted.

Oral Examination & Dental Charting:

Teeth are counted & charted and oral tissues are inspected. Each tooth and surrounding tissues are thoroughly examined and probed to check for enamel defects, gingival changes, or periodontal pockets indicating periodontal tissue destruction and/or tooth abscess formation.

Intraoral Radiograph Study

Numerous dental pathologies can be present that are not visible above the gumline including odontogenic cysts, periodontal infection, tooth resorption lesions, retained root fragments, tooth fractures, or even tumors. Full mouth intraoral radiographs on veterinary dental patients is now standard of care and a critical tool in effectively and accurately evaluating every patient’s oral health. Approximately 70% of dogs and 45% of cats have abnormal radiographic findings of value from an intraoral X-ray study, even when the gross appearance of teeth above the gumline show no clinical abnormalities. Complete assessment of the oral cavity, both above and below the gum line, is the most effective way accurately diagnose dental problems that may be causing your pet infection and/or pain. Without X-rays many abnormalities may go unidentified and therefore untreated.

Ultrasonic Scaling & Cleaning:

We use an ultrasonic scaler as well as hand scalers or curettes to remove layers of tartar that have accumulated on the crowns of teeth and along the gum line. The removal of the mineralized calculus allows us to better control ongoing bacterial growth and inflammation. This is a key to helping manage gingivitis and prevent progression to periodontal disease. We DO NOT RECOMMNEND EVER attempting to scale your pet’s teeth yourself at home as there is a very high risk of trauma should your pet suddenly move or resist, and it is not possible to effectively scale and clean the subgingival surfaces with your pet.

Tooth Polishing:

A fluoride polishing paste is applied using a low-speed micro-motor rotary applicator much like a human dental hygienist does to our teeth. This important step results in a smooth, polished enamel surface that is slower to re-accumulate plaque and tartar than a scratched, unpolished surface is.

Medications:

We may administer and prescribe an antibiotic for your pet to help resolve bacterial infection within the gingival tissues and to minimize the likelihood of bacterial spread to other systems within the body. Analgesic medications such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or and/or gabapentin are often used to help manage oral pain during recovery if extractions or other painful procedures are performed.

Prevention:

We are eager to counsel you on measures you can use to help keep your pet’s oral cavity healthy. Brushing your pet’s teeth with an enzyme-based pet toothpaste product, offering proven tartar control treats or chews ( https://vohc.org ), feeding a dental formula pet food, or use oral rinses may help reduce bacterial plaque buildup and tartar formation for your pet.
We encourage you to discuss recommendations for effectively managing your pet’s oral health in detail with one of our DVMs. It can make a world of difference in your pet’s short- and long-term health, as well as extend his or her life expectancy!

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Mon–Fri: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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