Dental and Oral Health Care for Dogs
Research from the 1970's has documented that periodontal disease is the most prevalent of all diseases in our companion animals. This disease remains to be the most prevalent and well worth recognizing, treating and controlling. Periodontal disease in animals was poorly understood however there has been an exponential growth in our understanding. Myths and misunderstandings about veterinary dentistry are being recognized and addressed.
Today we are diagnosing immune mediated disease processes such as "CUPS" (chronic ulcerative paradental stomatitis) and pemphigoid-type disease with increasing frequencies. These conditions can be very debilitating without appropriate treatment.
It was believed that dogs don't get cavities however this belief is wrong. We diagnose and treat carious lesions in our practice frequently. The key to successful restoration of these lesions is early detection. These cavities will never be identified if no one systematically looks for them. If they are not found early, tooth decay becomes extensive leading to structural damage, tooth infection, tooth death with the potential for local infection (causing facial swelling, draining tracks) or widespread infection throughout the body.
Oral disease processes and tumors also need to be identified and diagnosed early for optimal treatment. It is exciting to report that some oral tumors that previously carried a very poor prognosis can be treated very effectively with oral surgery and immunotherapy (melanoma vaccine). Dr. Kressin works directly with a medical oncologist to provide these services.
If you have serious interests in protecting the oral health of animals, check this site regularly for new information. If you are an animal owner or a veterinarian and there is additional information you want to see, contact Dr. Kressin, he will provide the information you need.
What does the veterinary dental specialist or veterinary dentist do?
Dr. Kressin and his staff are highly focussed on the diagnosis and treatment of dental and oral health care needs of companion animals. Dr. Kressin is a veterinary dentist that provides a full range of dental services. Our practice brochure highlights the services provided by veterinary dental specialists.
Virtually any service your family dentist provides for you is available for your companion animals at the Animal Dental Center of Milwaukee and Oshkosh. Additionally; our veterinary dentist provides extensive oral surgery services. Dr. Kressin has a passion for providing surgical oral oncology services. Dr. Kressin focuses on a team effort in providing services. He provides dental and oral surgery consultations; working for pet owners and their family veterinarians with other specialists. This team effort affords optimal care that your companion animals deserve.
The Oral Exam
The annual physical exam must include an oral exam to recognize problems with teeth, peroidontal disease, and other oral diseases. The comprehensive oral exam begins by observing the face, recognizing that there are normal breed variations but carefully observing for abnormalities. Is the bite right or is there a malocclusion? Is there evidence of facial swelling or dischharge from draining tracks? We look for excessive depositions of calculus (tartar) on one side of the mouth compared to the other side. Is the pet avoiding chewing on one side? Is the pet unable to chew on one side due to an abnormal occlusion or a TMJ problem? Is the pet unwilling to chew on one side to avoid pain? This would potentially result in more calculus deposited on that side. Fractured (broken) or sensitive teeth may lead to serious dental infection, tooth abscesses, facial swelling or draining tracks (fistulas). We observe for soft tissue problems of the gingiva (gums), buccal mucosa (inside of the cheeks),hard and soft palate (roof of the mouth). Unusual odor dictates the need for further evaluation. Some animals won't allow a safe oral exam during the physical exam. The oral exam should be performed with sedation or under anesthesia for aggressive or fearful pets.
A more detailed and thorough oral exam can be provided under anesthesia (see photo series). We prefer to use a dental chart with a check off list of areas to carefully observe. This systematic approach to the oral exam is highly beneficial. Dental radiographs with periodontal probing are very important in establishing an accurate diagnosis. Without dental radiographs, the diagnosis is often impossible to establish as with periodontal disease, facial swellings, discolored or fractured teeth. Without an accurate diagnosis, it is difficult to provide appropriate and effective treatment. Dental radiographs also help in performing most dental therapies.
Teeth cleaning (we prefer "COHAT")
We do not like to use the term "dental" when providing any of our services. The term dental is not useful since we provide many dental services. We prefer the acronym
"COHAT" which means comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment. The teeth are scaled above and below the gumline, polished, periodontal probing is performed, observations are charted and dental radiographs are taken. In our practice, this is a more logical, efficient and effective approach to dental care for our companion animals.
The veterinary profession focusses on dentistry in Feburary as pet dental health month.
At the Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery Specialists, LLC; we focus on dentistry and oral health every month, every day and enjoy providing these services immensely. Dentistry and oral surgery are our passion.
What can pet owners do to promote dental and oral health?
The most important role owners can play to promote dental and oral health is to be observant of their animals. We often think our animals have no oral pain and we are often wrong. We just do not understand dog language well and we fail to spend quality time with them to notice symptoms of pain or discomfort. The best way to be an excellent observer is to take time for our animals and make the effort to brush their teeth daily or at least three times weekly.
If you don't see a problem but smell bad odor, have your veterinarian diagnose the source of the smell. Diagnosis is the first step toward dental and oral health treatment. Diagnosis requires dental radiography and periodontal probing.
Teeth Brushing and Home Care
The owner plays a pivital role in the oral health care for their companion animals.
We consider the pet owner and the family veterinarian as key members of our dental health care team. Our "COHAT" (or comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment) as well as all of our services may be ineffective without the pet owner's involvement.
It is important that the pet owner has interest in their pets' oral health. Daily teeth brushing is strongly recommended because it is a huge benefit for pets and it allows for close observation for oral problems. Teeth brushing three times weekly is the minimum frequency to be effective. Taking the pet to a groomer periodically for teeth brushing is ineffective and confusing because it does not help the pet at all. To learn more about teeth brushing technique and periodontal disease click the periodontal disease link below;