We had an excellent speaker at our club meeting last night. He was a veterinary dentist and had some really eye opening slides and great information. In fact, I am making appts for Jake and Shelby to see him ASAP. Jake will be 4 in August and has never had his teeth cleaned. At his last visit my vet said his teeth looked fine.
This dentist explained that visually a tooth may look great but you don't know what's happening until you really get a good look at the bone, root and under the gumline. Non-anesthetic cleaning will not allow this. He said if you want your dog to have pearly whites that are healthy all the way to the root you MUST do anesthetic cleaning. You cannot possibly see what is going on without it. I can't tell you how many slides he showed of beautiful teeth on the surface with terrible problems below the gum line.
Our club Pres took her dog to see him and the poor guy had 90% bone loss and had to have like 9 teeth removed. He was a show dog but she chose tooth removal over continuing his career for his health. She never would have known it because the visual part of the teeth looked great. In fact, she brought them to a meeting one evening, the day the teeth were removed, and you could see that the part of the tooth you could see looked great and then below the gum line they were a mess.
He showed some horrible slides of what goes on underneath. And brought back some horrible memories (my heart was just thumping) of dogs with oral cancer and the stressed the importance of catching it early. He even talked about partial maxilectomy (which is what Jake had) as the best way to treat a treatable cancer. When Jake had his cancer no one mentioned them until I met with his surgeon.
He advised brushing a minimum of 3 days a week. Believe me...after seeing what could happen we are making appoints and going to start brushing.
He said one of the biggest culprits is broken teeth. Your vet may see a broken tooth and say it's nothing...the dog is fine...but in actuality an abcess could be forming below the gum line. He also said broken teeth HURT!! One of the causes of broken teeth....nylabones!! Poor Shelby...no more nylabones baby girl. She really gnaws away on them. He suggested that they not chew on things that are so hard they can't be broken...they will chip teeth. A suggestion was something like the rubber booda bones with ridges.
Another thing he said was not to have deep cleaning when having any other kind of surgery involving opening the chest cavity, etc because of the risk of bacteria getting into the bloodstream.
Anyway, that was a super eye opening message.
Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah