Recently, Louis and Ella Bean received a thorough dental cleaning - including scaling, polishing and detailed attention to their periodontal health. BUT - they didn't go under any risky, unnecessary anesthesia! They were wide awake the entire time. Houndstooth Non-Anesthetic Veterinary Dental Services provides thorough dental health care without anesthesia.
According to Louis and Ella Bean's dental technician, Kathy, one of the major reasons anesthesia usage for routine canine dental care has become commonplace, is due to the insurance policies for the veterinary practices. If a technician or vet gets bitten, the employee files for worker's compensation and the insurance has to pay! Well, given that many vet techs aren't trained in animal behavior, getting bitten was a typical occurrence before the implementation of standard anesthesia for dentals.
Insurance companies began to deny approval for insurance policies covering non-anesthetic dental procedures - and now it is the norm for dogs undergo unnecessary anesthesia for financial reasons that are separate and unrelated to the health of our companions. Many dogs and cats suffer unnecessary damage from the anesthesia and/ or equipment used during these procedures. The risks associated with anesthesia are simply best reserved for acute situations.
Of course, in cases where an extraction may be required or there is extreme periodontal disease, anesthetic dental care may be necessary - but Kathy has very successfully treated some extreme cases without the use of anesthesia. Her patience and ability to soothe the animals into a calm state is incredible. Click here to read some of those animal's stories. Kathy is even able to deep clean subgingivally (between the gums and the basal part of the crowns of the teeth) without the use of anesthesia.
Why Clean Your Hound's Teeth?
I actively promote the benefits of raw feeding, touting dental and periodontal health as one of the main reasons to feed your pet a natural, species appropriate diet...so why do my dogs need dental cleanings?
Well, I noticed Ella Bean was having some breath issues (don't mention it to her - she gets touchy on the subject) and that her gums were a little inflamed. I also noticed some tarter on some of her front teeth, especially where her teeth are crowded. I blogged about her puppy dental issues in my articles, A Stinky Tooth Fairy and A Stinky Tooth Fairy Part Deux - she retained almost all of her deciduous (baby) teeth and needed to have them pulled while she was being spayed. As she has morphed into a gorgeous full grown Bean, I noticed that her adult teeth, mostly the front ones, have come in crowded.
Kathy explained to me, while she expertly cleaned Ella's teeth and tended to her gums, that dogs have 42 teeth, just like wolves. As we humans bred dogs down into the desired sizes and shapes we now are familiar with, dogs retained this number of teeth. Ella Bean, like many other toy breeds, has a jaw that is simply too small to hold all those teeth! As such, teeth have crowd together forming some ideal zones for debris to get caught and plaque to form. Subsequently, the formation of plaque pockets in the gums begins the deterioration of dental health, marking the beginning of periodontal disease.
In order to maintain Miss. Bean's dental health, we are committed to a regular oral hygiene routine to care for her teeth and gums and regular cleanings (in addition to raw feeding, without which, she would be in seriously bad shape). With some diligent care and hard work, we can avoid progressive periodontal disease and the problems associated with it.
As for Louis, he had developed a tiny bit of plaque on a few back teeth and some minor deposits on a few front teeth. A quick (under five minute) teeth cleaning from Kathy revealed some plaque which was scraped and polished off and a lesson from Kathy on how I can maintain both dog's generally good dental health.
Some tips and tricks shared by Kathy:
Take a picture!
By photographing your dog's smile after their dental cleanings, you can compare their current state each month and make sure there aren't any changes during their home dental routine. If you notice any changes, it will be easier to address them early, rather then waiting until they progress.
Feed your dog a tooth friendly diet!
Whole foods (raw meaty bones such as backs and necks are ideal), which require chewing exercise the jaw and act as a natural floss.
Maintain a consistent oral care routine!
Based on the recommendations of your technician, you will be directed to wipe your dogs teeth, use a diluted Hydrogen Peroxide flush, or utilize other tools to maintain your dog's unique dental needs.
Have regular examinations by a veterinary dental technician!
Regular oral exams and cleanings can spot issues before they become problems, maintain oral health, and provide a baseline for future changes.
For more information, please visit www.houndstoothpetdental.com