Keeping your pet’s teeth clean is often a daunting task. I applaud owners who make their pet’s oral health a top priority. It has been proven time and again that oral disease and infection lead to heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease and various other systemic, life threatening concerns. Oral health is a subject I care greatly about and when properly staged addressing your pet’s periodontal disease will contribute to keeping your pet healthy.
Let’s first explore what takes place during a high quality dental cleaning. The modern term for a dental cleaning is now the acronym COHAT which stands for “Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment.”
At our practice, we perform an 11-step procedure during each COHAT with a vital step being dental radiographs (x-rays). This allows us to stage your pet’s periodontal disease, which really is the most important aspect of any oral health assessment. It is estimated that only 10-15% of veterinary practices perform dental x-rays meaning that potentially up to 85-90% of all patients undergoing “dental work” could have painful disease left in their mouth. At Pine Creek Veterinary Hospital, our doctors believe this is unacceptable. Our doctors have undergone advanced training in proper periodontal staging and subsequent therapy thereby correcting painful oral disease.
Upon receiving the owner’s permission, I want to share with you a recent experience with one of our COHATs showing just how important radiographs really are. This pet’s teeth and gum structures looked rather good on visual exam. To our amazement, upon performing the radiographs, we discovered 22 abscessed, painful teeth that had advanced, irreversible periodontal disease that required extraction. We wished such a story is rare, but as mentioned above it happens far more commonly than most are aware. It is cases like these that remind us why we perform a full set of dental x-rays with every COHAT.
When investing in your pet’s oral health, be proactive and ensure your pet has full mouth dental radiographs performed with every dental cleaning AND that your veterinarian is skilled in reading these radiographs and in treating periodontal disease. Otherwise, you could be wasting your time and money! As a cost savings activity, it may be tempting to cut corners and skip dental radiographs, but it can easily lead to a false sense of security. Always insist your veterinary team “gets to the root of the problem.”
Call us today to schedule an exam with one of our highly trained doctors to discuss your pet’s oral health.
In our next installment we look more closely at some of the other steps involved in a COHAT.
These blog comments, although based in scientific research, reflect our professional opinions only and are accurate and true to the best of our knowledge. They are for informational purposes and do not constitute treatment advice, nor should it take the place of seeking medical attention and a diagnosis from a trained professional. We reserve the right to change these blog comments if/as new research emerges.