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  • Dental radiographs; when correlated with clinical examinations and case history are important diagnostic aids available to the veterinarian. 
  • AAHA recommends full mouth x-rays with every dental procedure.  Good oral health is an important part of good general health for your pet.

Signs of oral and dental diseases in dogs and cats: 

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • Your pet shies away from when you touch the mouth area
  • Drooling or dropping food from the mouth 
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Loss of appetite or loss of weight (this combination can result from diseases of many organs; and early veterinary examination are important)

"Anesthesia free" dental cleanings/ Non-anesthetic 'Dentals'

          "Anesthesia free" may seem like the less risky procedure for your dog or cat than a veterinary dental cleaning under anesthesia.  Of course we all love our pets and are nervous about the idea of them going under anesthesia. However, when it comes to pet dental health, the risks of periodontal disease and oral health problems due to lack of proper dental care far outweighs the risk of anesthesia.

          Anesthesia free dental procedures are not able to clean beneath the gumline to prevent periodontal disease, nor are they able to look beneath the gumline to identify problems before they become painful and expensive to treat. When choosing your pet's dental care; it's important to learn about a comprehensive veterinary dental cleaning, also known as a professional dental cleaning, and it's long term benefits for your pet's overall health. You can visit www.avdc.org/AFD for answers to all your questions and resources for making the right choice for your pet.

Fig. 1 & Fig. 2

          The images below are those of a 12 yr. old male neutered long haired dashshund: To the technician; veterinarian, and anesthesiologist this tooth appears normal. However, on x-rays this tooth has vertical bone loss with furcation exposure.  If not extracted, an abscess can form and surface through the cheek causing discomfort and pain to the patient. 

          This is the Left Upper Premolar 4th, this tooth was loose, has vertical bone loss and furcation.

Fig: 1Fig: 2

Dental cleaning for your pet

          Our own teeth are scaled by a dentist or hygienist - we sit in the chair and open our mouth when requested, letting the professionals do their work. While the principals of good oral hygiene and dental health are the same for dogs and cats as for people, there are some significant differences. We understand why the procedure is important, and we typically do not need sedation or restraint.  Neither is true for our pets. Another important difference between human and veterinary dental practice is that we tell the dentist when there is discomfort; to ensure that nothing is missed in dogs or cats, our patients require thorough oral examination under anesthesia and dental radiographs to identify any underlying pathology.  

Every professional dental cleaning starts with a review of the patients' dental history. For a thorough, safe dental cleaning in veterinary patients', anesthesia is esential, as this permits a comprehensive assessment of the tissues, allows dental radiographs to be made when indicated, followed by the cleaning (scaling and polishing procedure) itself above and below the gumline. "Non-anesthetic or Anesthetia-free dental scaling: is not recommended by AVDC.

*AVDC American Veterinary Dental College*

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We have been with Dr. Sierra and her staff for 5 years and have recently moved 20 miles away. But because of her excellent service and her loving care, we will continue to travel to her for the care of our fur babies. Everyone on her staff is professional, caring and treats us and our kitties as if we were part of the family. While we have had other Vets in the last 20 years that were good, Dr. Sierra is by far our favorite not only because of her knowledge and caring attitude but also because she has built her business surrounded by staff that are as compassionate about what they do as she is. And it shows..

Jan Campanero

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