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Dentistry and Dental Surgery

Dental disease is a leading cause of pain and illness in both dogs and cats. Routine oral hygiene at home can help to minimize this in some pets, but, like us, they require teeth cleanings, assessments, and treatments to ensure a healthy mouth and healthy pet throughout their lives. Many pets do not tell us when their mouth or teeth are sore so it is important to have yearly checkups to ensure that dental disease is not becoming a problem.

What is involved with a Dental Procedure or Dental Surgery?

Island Tides Veterinary Hospital has a dedicated dental suite for cleanings and dental surgery. A thorough assessment of the oral cavity called a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT), is an in-depth examination of your pet’s dental disease to formulate an appropriate treatment plan. This procedure is performed with a cat or dog under general anesthesia with careful monitoring by a Registered Veterinary Technician and direct Veterinary supervision. Assessment includes full-mouth dental x-rays, a complete oral examination, and charting. Treatment may include dental prophylaxis (cleaning) or tooth extractions.


Why is a General Anesthetic Necessary for a Dental Cleaning?

To fully examine a dog or cat’s mouth, it is important to examine all aspects of the teeth and take x-rays to evaluate below the gum line (the same as you would expect at your own dental cleaning!). This can be quite stressful for many people and even more so for our pets. Additionally, it requires holding the mouth open for dental radiographs (which cannot be performed in the awake patient and are required for evaluating the tooth root) and being able to examine fully under the tongue, behind the teeth, and under the gum, which can be painful (especially when dental disease is present). General anesthesia allows full assessment of all teeth and proper cleaning and treatment as required without causing emotional stress or undue pain to the cat or dog.

Prior to any general anesthetic, your pet is assessed for risk factors with an examination, blood tests, and sometimes body x-rays or an ECG to ensure a safe procedure. Our goal is to ensure that your pet is pain-free and living their best life!