Pet Dental Month

Dental Month at DVM Hospitals

Oral disease is the most common recurring or chronic problem in our canine/feline patient population.  These problems start with accumulations of plaque and calculus on the tooth surface.  Small amounts of this material, commonly called “tartar”, do not make for a serious problem, but as it accumulates, the margins of the gum become infected causing gingivitis and bad breath.  As infected gum dies and recedes, more of the tooth root is exposed and the periodontal tissue, which holds the tooth in place, becomes involved.  Periodontitis progresses to tooth root abscess, infection of the surrounding bone, tooth loss, and in some cases disease in distant parts of the body.  Breath will become markedly foul, the surrounding lip folds become infected, and in some cases there may be poor appetite, weight loss, signs of pain, or other signs of overt illness.


The treatment of dental disease is the most common reason for which we use general anesthesia.  Attempts at non-anesthetic dentistry have not allowed for more than the most superficial treatment of these problems, almost always with disappointing short-term results.  Yet, fear of anesthesia is the most frequent reason for pet owner reluctance to pursue needed dental care.  Anesthesia for dentistry is, in general, the same as other anesthetic situations, but does require strict attention to “protecting the airway” from the fluids sprayed into the mouth during dental procedures.  In our anesthesia protocol, we give a mild sedation to reduce the anesthetic required and to ease recovery from the anesthetic state; an IV catheter is placed and anesthesia is initiated with a short-acting anesthetic given IV; a plastic tube is placed in the airway and is designed to inflate slightly to prevent entry of any fluid into the airway during dental procedures.  General anesthesia is maintained with isoflurane, an anesthetic gas, administered through this endotracheal tube.  Our patients are kept on an IV drip and monitored continuously throughout anesthesia by a staff member dedicated to that one purpose.


For the past 4 years we have held a “Dental Month” in February.  These have been very popular.  Each year, many of our clients look forward to the opportunity to take care of anything from routine dental prophylaxis to major dental problems in their pets.  They also look forward to saving some money on what can become an expensive procedure because Dental Month offers a 15% discount on all but the most advanced procedures.  This discount also applies to a pre-anesthetic blood panel, dental xrays, gingivectomy when required, and medications dispensed.  We love Dental Month as well.  There are few areas of practice where the results of our training and work are so apparent and gratifying.


For further information on dental care or Dental month, contact one of our DVM Hospitals locations at:


Mark G. Burns, DVM