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Posted on 01-31-2018


The Importance of Dental Care

Dental care is something I've always advocated for my patients. I've told clients how important it is to get infected teeth removed, and how unhealthy teeth can contribute to heart and kidney disease. Pulling teeth is often necessary, I would tell clients, and really our pets do fine with a few less teeth.

I've been really lucky with my own pets' oral health over the years. My first four dogs and both cats all had minimal dental disease. I've been a big proponent of rawhides and how beneficial daily chewing is for their mouths. I only had to have dental cleanings once or twice in each of their lives, and never had to do any extractions.

Then I got Willy. Willy is a 1 and a half year old... I recently got him from a local rescue. He's a little guy, and they are notorious for having earlier dental disease. Even though he's a good chewer, he already has gingivitis around his front teeth (the ones that don't get benefit from chewing) and his canines. I realized with horror that he's going to lose teeth if I don't get proactive about early cleaning! Suddenly I better understood how disappointed clients are when I tell them, "he'll be fine if we remove 3 or 4 teeth." I don't WANT Willy to lose teeth! He's beautiful just the way he is.

Then Dr. Jerry reminded me that his dog Barkley (another little guy) lived until he was 18. He had 7 or 8 dental cleanings during his life, and only lost one tooth when he was 16 years old. Now that sounds good to me!

So, he's having his first dental cleaning at the beginning of February.

Early and regular dental cleaning can really help reduce the incidence of tooth loss, especially for our smaller dog patients, and it's not as expensive as you might think. For February, we are offering a $50 discount coupon for all of our dental procedures. For those of you with "Willys" (young, healthy pets with early dental disease), the entire procedure is less than $300; a bargain to keep those teeth right where they belong!

Typical Early Dental Cleaning



This dental cleaning required only 30 minutes of anesthesia time, no pain medication, and no antibiotics. The total cost was $346 (and then she used her $50 coupon!).

Typical Late Stage Dental Procedure



This patient was under anesthesia for 2 and a half hours, we removed 17 teeth, and took 8 x-rays. He was on antibiotics for 10 days, and had to take pain medication for a week. The total cost was $1,435.

So often pets go undiagnosed with dental disease until symptoms reach the later stages shown above. Be proactive about your pet's dental health, and keep their smiles bright!

-Dr. Mary Ann Sheller

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