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Doggie dental cleaning

SableCollie
July 31st, 2007, 10:24 PM
So, I'm in a bit of a dilemma here. Sable is 7 now, and her teeth are actually in pretty good shape. But I've been thinking I should get a dental cleaning/polishing done, since she is 7 and I know how important dental health is in dogs. I also know that even if the teeth look fine, it's under the gumline where you can't see that is usually the problem. So I thought, well, I'll get a full bloodpanel done on her, and if it comes back good (which I am assuming it will, I will schedule a dental. I would rather get it done now than have to have one done when she is say, 14 and really needs one because the older she gets, the more worried I get about putting her under anesthesia.

Now the problem is, everyone is asking me "why are you doing this? her teeth look ok!" My vet will do the cleaning no problem if I want. But it seems everyone I've mentioned this too is like "why bother putting her under?" And I am very nervous of putting her under, since she I don't know how she is with anesthesia (she was already spayed when I got her), plus my old dog had to get a dental done and even though her pre-anesthesia bloodwork came back great, her heart stopped 3 times while she was under, and they had to revive her 3 times and couldn't finish the procedure.

So I don't know, what do you guys think? I thought dental cleanings were actually supposed to be done every 2-3 years on dogs (I know that even though my teeth are clean, I still go every 6 months for a cleaning). I'm thinking I'm going to do it, but I'm not 100% sure now. :confused:

hazelrunpack
July 31st, 2007, 10:44 PM
There is really no rule of thumb for dental cleanings, IMO. If Sable's teeth are white, the gums are a healthy pink with no red, and the teeth are in good physical shape, then there's probably no reason to have a cleaning done--no matter how long ago or even if she's had one before. Your vet should be able to tell you if Sable's teeth need work--and I'd go by that.

Do you brush her teeth? When Ridge arrived at age 1.5, she had awful teeth--scaled, yellow-brown in spots, with red gums...they looked awful. We started brushing them daily and it was amazing how quickly they improved--so much so that she didn't need her first professional cleaning until this year, at age 4.

SableCollie
August 1st, 2007, 01:19 PM
Yes I brush her teeth whenever I groom her, which is only about once a week. I tried to do it daily but I just can't remember.

Her teeth are certainly not sparkling white. They have a lot of what my vet calls "staining" especially on certain teeth, it's a brown colour but my vet insists that it is not tartar, just staining. Her teeth in general are pretty yellow from the staining. I have heard that a dog could have nice white teeth and still have periodontal disease under the gums, and just brushing and scaling the parts of the teeth that are visible doesn't do the job.

I don't know, my last dog the vet never recommended a dental on until she was 14 and her teeth were so bad it wasn't an option anymore, she had to get it done. And then she nearly died. I just thought with Sable I was being pro-active and thinking of her future health? But everyone seems to think it's not necessary. My vet seems to think "why would you spend the money when you don't have to", but money isn't an issue with this, I would do anything for my dog....

hazelrunpack
August 1st, 2007, 03:01 PM
Does your current vet have a canine dental hygienist on staff? Every year we have the hygienist at the clinic check the dogs' teeth to see if they need cleaning...

Maybe as a compromise you should find another vet clinic and ask for another opinion. You'd just be out the cost of the consultation if they confirm that Sable doesn't need a dental cleaning--but if they think there's more to the brown coloration than just staining, then you'll at least have more information to base your decision on. If you find another clinic with a hygienist on staff, the hygienist would be the person to consult--and the office call might actually cost less than one with a vet. :fingerscr

SableCollie
August 1st, 2007, 04:56 PM
I don't know of a single vet around here with a dental hygienist. Actually many vets around here don't even do dental cleanings. My dad's dog goes to a full service emergency vet hospital, but he had to go to my vets for a dental because his didn't do them.

My vet said the first step is to get a physical exam, and that will only be $35 US. Then I guess we can go from there.

I just have a feeling that if I don't get it done now, she'll have to have it done in a few years, and I'd be nervous of putting her under when she is 10+ years old.

TeriM
August 1st, 2007, 05:17 PM
I personally would wait until it was considered necessary. I'd rather not put them under anesthetic unless necessary. I did Lucy's last year when we had a small growth on her eyelid removed and tend to have them do any dental work if there is any other procedure being done.

I think a lot of dogs have great teeth just like some humans do and it is very possible that she might never need to have her teeth done.

SableCollie
August 1st, 2007, 06:26 PM
I am going to have the vet look at her teeth and see what he thinks, it's been 6 months since he last saw her, and I can't tell if they are worse or not. Her breath is bad also, and I am pretty sure the smell is coming from her mouth (as opposed to digestive issue) so I want him to check that out.

hazelrunpack
August 1st, 2007, 10:54 PM
Like Teri, we usually schedule cleanings as "asides" to other procedures to minimize the number of times they need to be put under. But if Sable's teeth are browning and her breath is bad, it does sound like she'll probably need a cleaning soon. Sometimes the timing just doesn't work out, but it's usually okay to wait a while until something else needs to be done.

Dr Lee
August 1st, 2007, 11:57 PM
I feel that consistent dental cleanings can be a cornerstone to good pet health. We know that dental calculus (tartar) can be a resevior for bacteria and bacterial byproducts which can enter into the blood stream leading to life threatening infections of the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, etc....

With that said... I do NOT recommend dental cleanings every 6 months on every dog. I don't even recommend them every few years unless I feel it necessary for the patient. I have a lot of clients ask me about getting their pet's teeth cleaned at an older age. I will always try to distinguish which teeth will benefit only cosmetically and those that will benefit both cosmetically and from the aforementioned reasons. I have talked many a client OUT of a dental if I didn't feel the anesthesetic risks and stress was outweighed by the medical benefit to the patient. (this also includes judging those pets which should have a dental now to prevent the case you mentioned of a dog who is much too sick/old for a dental and was only recommended the cleaning at the 'eleventh hour').

So some of my patients do get dental as often as every six months and a couple have only had one or two in a life time.

One last note - occasionally I will hear - "your pet is too old for anesthesia, I know this guy who does it without anesthesia". The American Veterinary Dental Association has a strict stand against this. Reasons: 1) the scaling to remove the calculus creates microabrasions on the tooth surface which cannot be properly polished with any motion - this state leads to faster build up of the calculus post cleaning, 2) precludes dental X-Ray however most vets still do not have this technology (we don't yet) and 3) it precludes proper charting of the teeth looking for subgingival disease (sometimes there is more calculus (tartar) under the gingiva then above it!!!

I hope this helps out!:pawprint:

mummummum
August 2nd, 2007, 12:37 AM
Sablecollie ~ remind me please do you use recreational bones or feed cartilaginous nones or RMB's with your diet ?

I notice an immense difference between staining/ tartar on Bridie and Ceili's teeth and Declan's (who has only been with me for 1 2/2 and has the notorious tummy) teeth.

SableCollie
August 2nd, 2007, 01:41 PM
I feel that consistent dental cleanings can be a cornerstone to good pet health. We know that dental calculus (tartar) can be a resevior for bacteria and bacterial byproducts which can enter into the blood stream leading to life threatening infections of the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, etc....

With that said... I do NOT recommend dental cleanings every 6 months on every dog. I don't even recommend them every few years unless I feel it necessary for the patient. I have a lot of clients ask me about getting their pet's teeth cleaned at an older age. I will always try to distinguish which teeth will benefit only cosmetically and those that will benefit both cosmetically and from the aforementioned reasons. I have talked many a client OUT of a dental if I didn't feel the anesthesetic risks and stress was outweighed by the medical benefit to the patient. (this also includes judging those pets which should have a dental now to prevent the case you mentioned of a dog who is much too sick/old for a dental and was only recommended the cleaning at the 'eleventh hour').

So some of my patients do get dental as often as every six months and a couple have only had one or two in a life time.

One last note - occasionally I will hear - "your pet is too old for anesthesia, I know this guy who does it without anesthesia". The American Veterinary Dental Association has a strict stand against this. Reasons: 1) the scaling to remove the calculus creates microabrasions on the tooth surface which cannot be properly polished with any motion - this state leads to faster build up of the calculus post cleaning, 2) precludes dental X-Ray however most vets still do not have this technology (we don't yet) and 3) it precludes proper charting of the teeth looking for subgingival disease (sometimes there is more calculus (tartar) under the gingiva then above it!!!

I hope this helps out!:pawprint:

Thank you. I've always though dental health was important in people and animals, I just want to keep my doggie healthy and try to prevent what happened to my old dog (having to be put under at age 14). I am going in 2 weeks to get her teeth looked at, a complete physical exam, and a cbc. My vet does have xrays, but not for dental I don't think. Then we will decide whether to do a cleaning or not.

Sablecollie ~ remind me please do you use recreational bones or feed cartilaginous nones or RMB's with your diet ?
No, I don't...I'm a vegan, I couldn't do that....Sable gets dehydrated sweet potato chews, raw carrots, and nylabones and I also brush her teeth, once a week. The staining is much worse on one side because she prefers to chew with the other side of her mouth (doesn't seem to be any pain on the "bad" side, it seems to just be a preference with her.) Tartar-wise, her teeth look better than most 7 year old dogs I've seen, I just want to keep them that way. :o

Like Teri, we usually schedule cleanings as "asides" to other procedures to minimize the number of times they need to be put under.
Problem is she is perfectly healthy, I don't see her ever having to go under anesthesia for any other reason. (Of course I'm glad she is so healthy, I don't want to sound ungrateful!!)

SnowDancer
August 2nd, 2007, 04:40 PM
My 3 year old Eskimo has excellent teeth - as do most Eskies, but he has developed some tartar build-up on the upper left and right sides of his mouth - mostly on the right side. I have watched him chew his food and his gigantic Nylabones (he only weighs 20 lbs. but has super teeth) and have noticed that the tartar affected teeth do not seem to really touch his food or the Nylabones. Also, some dogs, just like some people, develop tartar. The vet has suggested a cleaning when he has his age 4 physical so I will do that. We ONCE tried a smoked bone type of thing - Nature's Variety - my guy became CUJO! Never, ever again.