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Dr. Banker is a Fellow in the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry with over 30 years of advanced dental experience. Advanced dental care is available, including periodontal therapy, root canals, crowns and orthodontics. Dr. Banker was the first person in the Mid Atlantic States to become certified as a Fellow in the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry. He has been the referral dentist for the College of Veterinary Medicine at N.C.S.U. He was one of only two veterinarians in the United States to complete the year long Dental Certificate Series at Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Over the last 30 years he has taught Veterinary Dentistry all over the United States and Canada.
The dental services at Sedgefield Animal Hospital and Dental Center are unique. Our practice has provided advanced care and referral dental services since 1983. We have had patients visit us from as far as Canada, New Jersey, and Arkansas because of the level of care we provide. How convenient that you don't have to travel to find this level of service. With this depth of experience and our state of the art dental equipment your pet is assured of the best Veterinary Dental care available!
Two Common Oral Conditions ? PeriodontalDisease and Broken Teeth
Whenperforming a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment the two most commonconditions that we find in dogs and cats are Periodontal Disease and BrokenTeeth.
PeriodontalDisease is considered the most common infection in both man and animals. Infact, it is considered by many veterinarians to be the most common diseasefound in pets. The purpose of this article is to give you a brief overview ofwhat it is and why it is so important to detect.
What is Periodontal Disease and how does it occur?
PeriodontalDisease is a combination of infection and inflammation of the tissues thatsurround the tooth (the Periodontium). After cleaning a thin film quicklycollects on the teeth; the film is invaded by bacteria within 12 hours(Plaque). If this plaque is not brushed off completely within 3 days it willmineralize into Calculus (Tartar). Calculus has to be professionally removed byscaling, brushing will not remove it.
The pet'simmune system reacts to the bacteria by causing inflammation. In addition tothat, some of the bacteria release toxins that create additional inflammation.The tissues surrounding the teeth get caught in a war zone. The result isdestruction of these tissues (bone, gum tissue and periodontal ligament). Theonly way to stop the destructive process is to professionally clean the area(scaling, polishing, root planning & subgingival curettage).
How can I tell if my Pet has Periodontal Disease?
Sometimesyou can find signs in your pet, yet sometimes you can't. Periodontal Diseasecan be silent and go undetected (without a Periodontal Examination). CommonIndications of Periodontal Disease:
1. Bad Breath (Halitosis) or "Fish Breath",
2. Accumulations of Plaque and Calculus on Teeth (Dirty Teeth),
3. Red, Inflamed,Bleeding Gums
Yet, sometimes we have found patients that have significantdestruction of tissue under the gum line with no visible sign of problems abovethe gum line. This can only be detected with a thorough evaluation underanesthesia.
What can happen if Periodontal Disease is leftUntreated?
Tissue andbone destruction can lead to pain, discomfort and tooth loss. The infection andinflammation is believed to affect the kidneys, liver, heart and lungs. Chronicinfection stresses the immune system Bad breath can be offensive and unhealthy, it breaks the "human-animal bond". Infections and abscesses can occur in thenasal and sinus passages. Jaw fractures can occur In extreme cases the jawbonecan become chronically infected.
What can I do if my pet has Periodontal Disease?
The firststep is to do a complete Periodontal Examination including Dental Radiographs.Based on the findings we can then prescribe the proper treatment which couldinclude scaling, polishing, root planing, GTR (Guided Tissue Regeneration),Periodontal Surgery or Extraction.
You willfind that once the infection and inflammation is under control that the petwill look and feel much better. Once the mouth is clean again we can discuss acustom home care and follow-up program.
The secondmost common abnormal oral findings are Broken Teeth and for some reason BrokenTeeth are very misunderstood in our pets.
What are the treatment options for broken teeth?
Root canaltherapy is often recommended for the canine and chewing (carnassial) teethVital pulp therapy can sometimes be performed in young teeth Restorativetherapy (fillings) & resin sealants are possible in some teeth Extractionmay be the only treatment possible in some teeth. This is always a valid optionto eliminate pain and infection.
The Importance of Dental Radiography
Dentalradiographs are necessary to properly evaluate and monitor broken teeth. It isimpossible to properly evaluate an affected tooth without them.
What can I do to avoid broken teeth in my pet?
It isimportant not to give your pet hard objects to chew on (bones, cow hooves,Nylabones, hard compressed raw hide, ice, etc.). It is a dental myth that theyneed them to keep their teeth clean. Brushing is the best way to reduceplaque and calculus accumulation and to avoid Periodontal Disease.
Somethingthat most people don't know is that tennis balls are also bad for your pet's teeth.The texture of the ball can actually wear down the enamel of the teeth! Soft& flexible rubber toys & balls are much safer.
They'vebeen passed on from generation to generation. You've heard them, I've heardthem, and I was taught them by the Veterinarians that preceded me. Here are afew "truths" you've probably heard that I would consider Dental Myths.
Myth #1 - Give your dog Milk Bone - Dog Biscuits tokeep your pet's teeth clean.
Milk Boneshave never been scientifically shown to reduce plaque or calculus. There arecertain dental diets and chew devices that have been scientifically shown toslow plaque and calculus accumulation. Even with these more effective products,however, regular dental checkups and professional cleanings are needed.
While itis important to slow down plaque and calculus accumulation on teeth, a cleancrown doesn't necessarily mean there is not a problem. We have seen numerouspatients with nice, clean teeth that still had significant disease under thegum line.
Myth #2 - Dogs should chew on bones to keep theirteeth clean.
Certainbones will help remove plaque and calculus from teeth. Yet, they will alsobreak teeth. A dog's teeth were not designed to chew on bones, cow hooves,Nylabones or anything else that are hard and rigid. A dog's enamel is thinnerthan a person's and they have 4 - 10 times the bite force as a person. If theybite down on a hard substance with no "give" to it, the tooth will break. Ifyou choose to give these hard objects to your pet, you are putting theirimportant chewing teeth at risk.
We candiscuss with you how to create a custom oral hygiene program for your pet thatis safe for your pet's teeth.
Myth #3 - Dogs & cats don?t feel pain likehumans and broken teeth don?t seem to bother them.
A lot ofresearch was done in the area of pain in animals in the 1990s. The researchersfound that the pain response of a dog or cat is the same as a human. They feelpain just as we do. They just hide their pain.
Our pet'ssurvival instinct has them mask their pain just as animals in the wild hide it.A hurt animal in the wild will become food for other animals; therefore theylearn to hide pain to survive. This instinct is still present in our pets. Wewill often see our patients have a great improvement in their personality, seem happier and more energetic or act younger or more like themselves. When youremove their source of oral pain, they feel better.
Myth #4 - Pets seem to do fine with broken teeth,they don?t need to be treated.
Petstolerate pain and get by to survive. Yet, when we treat teeth with root canaltherapy or extract them, they feel and do much better. In the early stagesbroken or damaged teeth are acutely painful. As the nerve dies the pain lessensuntil the infection in the inside of the tooth breaks out into the bone. Atthis point the patient experiences severe pain.
Broken anddamaged teeth need to be treated. We hope that this information is enlighteningand helps you better understand misinformation that has been passed on unconsciously for generations.