Friendship Springs Veterinary Care

7380 Spout Springs Road, Suite 160
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

(770)967-8387

friendshipspringsvet.com

Friendship Springs Veterinary Care serving Flowery Branch, Braselton, and Buford since 2006.

Your best friend's veterinarian and animal hospital.

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Why Dentistry For Pets.

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BEFORE JUMPING TO THE LINK TO THE FEES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT INFORMATION!!!

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It's not just about a pretty smile. In addition to bad breath and being unsightly, dental disease is a source of infection, pain, and even death. It has been documented to cause cardiac disease, pneumonia, tracheobronchitis, kidney failure, splenic and liver abscesses, and can even lead to cancers of the mouth. Most people have heard of gingivitis and periodontitis, but they don't really understand what these words mean. Gingivitis means infection of the gums (gingiva) and periodontitis means infection of the gums that is so bad its causing infection of the deep soft tissues and bone around the teeth.

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Preventing and treating these two diseases is as at least as important a part of keeping pets healthy as any vaccine, test, or medication. The earlier the better. Generally, gingivitis is completely reversible. Once periodontitis sets in, the changes become irreversible. Sometimes if the changes are mild, continued good care can prevent progression. However, if the damage is severe, extraction of the tooth may become necessary. This is because once a certain amount of damage has been done, no matter how often the bad tooth is cleaned, the disease resumes again almost immediately.

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Gingivitis – Dental Disease Grade 1 and 2

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These mouths will have some plaque formation on the teeth and perhaps some mild staining. There may be some minimal to very early gingivitis, usually seen as a faint red line along the margin. When gingivitis is noted, the gumline has clearly become infected. As the disease progresses, increased mouth odor will be noted with brownish deposits, visible calculus (tartar) developing on the teeth, and the margin of redness along the gum line becomes more noticeable. As the tartar extends underneath the gumline into the gingival sulcus (see photo above) bringing bacteria into the tooth socket. This is an important problem because its just a short matter of time before the damage becomes irreversible. If we intervene now, we can get the mouth healthy again and work to keep it that way with some relatively simple things without a great deal of trouble or expense.

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Grade 1

    

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At this stage a routine professional prophylaxis will be recommended. Basically, a prophylaxis means dental exploration, evaluation, scaling, cleaning, and polishing. This is basically what happens for humans when we go to the dentist. During this process the plaque and tartar build-up will be removed from the teeth, both above and below the gumline with handheld and ultrasonic scalers. The teeth are then polished to remove microscopic scratches that predispose to plaque formation and calculus build-up. Each tooth and the entire oral cavity are checked for any disease.

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Grade 2

    

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Gingivitis – Dental Disease Grade 3 and 4

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There is extensive calculus build-up above and below the gingiva. The red along the gingiva present in the milder grades will have progressed to involving much more extensive areas of the gum, the calculus deposits will be much more severe, pus may be present along the gum line, obvious recession of the gingiva from the neck of the teeth may be evident, and as the disease worsens, increased mobility (looseness) of teeth may be noted. Some teeth may be salvageable still but some will be too far gone to save and will require extraction. Even though some or even all teeth may need extraction, even these mouths can be made more comfortable, clean, and pain-free again.

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Grade 3

    

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At this level a routine dental prophylaxis will not address this disease completely. The mouth may be returned to manageable condition but not without effort. First we need to get the mouth cleaned up and at least to a non-infected point. If the disease is bad enough we may use antibiotics before and/or after the procedures. If there are teeth that loose enough to be removed without oral surgery, this will be done at the same time. On the other hand if teeth in need of extraction will require oral surgery, then we will not usually do this at the same time because surgery performed in an inflammed mouth will be much more bloody, likely to have complications, and painful. For these teeth we will wait until the infections have resolved and then address the extractions when it can be done in a less complicated manner.  Afterwards, with regular professional maintenance cleaning cleaning and home care we should be able to keep the mouth clean, comfortable and healthy.

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Grade 4

   

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