Dentistry

Dental problems can cause bad breath in pets and make chewing painful. This can lead to weight loss, bone infection, tooth loss, and nutritional imbalances. Dental pain can also cause behavioral problems including aversion to being touched on the face or head, growling, hissing, hiding, grouchiness, or sometimes just loss of energy.

Most often the underlying bone and tooth roots are healthy, requiring only removal of tartar and bacteria from teeth and below the gum line.  Most tartar buildup occurs where you can't see it: next to the tongue and at the far back margins of the mouth.  At Alpine, we utilize only gentle modern ultrasounic cleaning techniques to thoroughly clean all the way around each and every tooth, before polishing the enamel to minimize further tartar buildup and applying protective tooth spray.  

There are times though, when the external appearance of the tooth is healthy, but digital dental x-ray exposes hidden tooth root infection and abscessation.  This loss of integrity and infection causes pain, bone loss, and foul odor.  In those cases of infection or loss of integrity, we carefully remove the diseased tooth, flush away the pocket of infection, then suture the site closed.  Taking the additional step of suturing the site closed reduces post-op pain and facilitates rapid healing and recovery.  Your Alpine veterinarian will also prescribe pain control and antibiotics, giving your loved one the best recovery possible.

 

At Alpine Animal Clinic, we use the most modern ultrasonic technology to gently restore your pet's teeth. Other older, commonly-used grinding methods can cause the enamel to be burned or ground off, leading to tooth loss, bone loss, continued pain, and the need for additional vet dental treatments in the future.  In addition to examining your pet's teeth, we use digital dental x-rays to help us diagnose problems and treat dental disease and infection, making your pet more comfortable and healthy.

Digital dental x-ray produces very high quality images quickly to accurately diagnose diseased teeth, abscessed roots and underlying bone problems.

 

Digital dental x-ray is essential to differentiate a healthy tooth from a diseased tooth.  At Alpine Animal Clinic, we feel so strongly that dental x-rays are important that we do not charge extra for your pet's digital dental x-rays.  When needed, we include dental x-rays at no cost in your pet dental care package.

What is the difference with modern dental equipment?

The image on the right shows a dog's tooth root abscess that was not evident without x-ray.  This pet appeared to have only mild tartar and exhibited no sign of pain.  His owner noticed only foul "dog breath".  X-rays taken during cleaning lead to the discovery of this root tip abscess (see darkened circular areas at bottom right of image at the root tips).  

 

Upon extraction of the tooth a large pocket of infection was flushed away before the site was sutured closed.  Days later the owner reported that the dog was "much more energetic than he's been in a long time!  I didn't realize he had been painful."

What is included in the dental procedure at Alpine Animal Clinic?

  • Exam before procedure by licensed veterinarian

  • I.V. catheter for medications, fluids and emergency access

  • Sedation, pain control, and anesthesia induction medications prescribed by a licensed veterinarian 

  • Anesthesia with only modern, safe inhalant anesthesia (Sevoflurane or Isoflurane) administered by a licensed veterinarian

  • Complete anesthesia monitoring with continuous EKG, blood pressure, pulse-oximetry, and body temperature

  • Safe, continuous patient warming system by Bair Hugger 

  • Complete oral exam to check for tumors, lesions, and other signs of disease of the oropharynx, soft palate, hard palate, tongue, cheeks and lips

  • Tartar removal all the way around each tooth and in between, using gentle hand-scaling methods

  • Gentle, modern Ultrasonic Scaling with auto-continuous water cooling to gently clean teeth and under the gumline, removing bacteria, tartar and staining.  Ultrasonic Scaling works without harming enamel or underlying bone.

  • Digital dental x-rays whenever needed and printed copies available for your records

  • Enamel polishing to smooth microscopic imperfections, reducing future buildup and need for future dental cleaning

  • Injectable pain control for comfortable recovery from anesthesia and procedure

  • Nail trim, ear cleaning and sanitary grooming around head

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1801 Cedar Street

Helena,  MT  59601

Call:  406-449-7155

Keeping families together, longer.

The Love Is Real© at Alpine Animal Clinic.

1801 Cedar Street

Helena,  MT  59601

Call:  406-449-7155

© 2020 by Alpine Animal Clinic.  All rights reserved.

All images used with permission.

 

American Animal Hospital Association Accreditation