Spurred by the advent of digital radiography, new understandings of old diseases are helping us alleviate and treat painful and problematic dental diseases that in the past were difficult to diagnose. Alleviating pain and promoting health are why we’re here.
The majority of patients with major dental diseases are elderly. Past concerns for anesthetic risks often led veterinarians to recommend not treating these patients. Today, technology known as multi-modal patient monitoring allows us to monitor numerous parameters on anesthetized patients. We can now perform dental procedures on elderly patients, even those with heart and kidney diseases, with considerable less risk than just a decade or two ago. The result is improved longevity and quality of life.
Multi-modal pain control has greatly improved post-operative recovery from dental procedures. General anesthetics don’t stop pain receptors from being stimulated; they simply allow your pet to sleep through the pain. Without pain control, your pet we will wake up from anesthesia in tremendous pain. Our use of local anesthetics during major dental procedures and oral surgery allows your pet to waken from anesthesia without pain. Local anesthetics also allow us to use lower levels of general anesthetics, increasing the safety of the procedure. Additional pain medications, including narcotics and NSAIDs, are used before, during, and after surgery to help ensure your pet’s post-operative pain is kept to a minimum. Less pain leads to a faster recovery and a happier pet.
The Benefits of Dental Radiographs
Many destructive and painful dental diseases are not visible with just an oral exam. Abscessed teeth, resorptive lesions (a cavity-like disease), and retained roots are a few of the problems that can remain undiagnosed for long periods of time. In addition to being painful, these problems can lead to further problems in other areas of the body.
Digital dental radiography allows us to diagnose dental disease and problems at early stages of their development. Radiographs also allow us to determine the extent of the disease and can help differentiate cancer from dental disease. Early and accurate diagnosis leads to faster and better treatment.
Our goals as your pet’s dentist are to alleviate pain and infection, minimize the progression of disease processes, and return your pet’s teeth and oral tissues to a healthy state. An important part of this problem is the ability to see disease processes that are below the gingiva (gum tissue).
Radiographs also offer a unique ability to evaluate the progression of dental diseases. Knowing how fast a disease is progressing enables us to more accurately determine when we should recommend a wait-and-see approach or recommend treatment.
With radiographs, we can diagnose variations in tooth structure that can create problems during extractions.
Because we can view the radiographs within seconds of taking them, digital dental radiographs allow excellent post-operative assessment of work just completed. We can see if any root tips remain, see that implanted material is properly placed, and evaluate the integrity of the surrounding bone.