Laser therapy is an advanced new technology used to support recovery after many dental procedures. The non-invasive treatment stimulates cell regeneration by increasing blood flow to the target area. This is used to accelerate the healing process following dental surgery and to treat certain degenerative periodontal diseases.
Low-level, also known as cold, laser therapy focuses red and infrared light on tissue at and below the surface of the skin. The light energizes the cellular mass, producing a structural protein called collagen used to repair tissue. Lasers continue the healing process by supporting vascular dilation and synthesis, increasing blood circulation to the affected region. The stimulation activates the body’s own pain-relieving hormones, generating mild pain management properties.
The process generally takes between 5-10 minutes, with the majority of patients seeing positive effects after 3-5 uses. The treatment continues to relieve pain and fight inflammation for up to 24 hours following the session.
Mandibular (jaw) fractures are very common injuries in cats and dogs. Jaw fractures are most often caused by trauma, but can be the result of complications from dental procedures like extractions and advanced periodontal disease. Symphyseal fractures refer to the area where the lower and upper jaws join. These injuries can range in severity from obvious fractures that impede daily life, to subtle hairline fractures that are hard to detect. Common indications of jaw injury in pets are refusal to eat and difficulty chewing. The Dental Center at Colleyville Animal Clinic uses a veterinary radiograph to confirm that a fracture has occurred.
The repair procedure varies based on the severity of the injury, but your pet will generally be administered anesthesia. Symphyseal fractures are repaired using circumferential wire to realign the jaws—that is then tightened to hold them in place while healing occurs. Severe fractures may involve recovery times up to seven weeks.
Bonded sealants are used to repair shallow and deep dental fractures. Some fractures are impossible for the tooth to repair by itself. When this occurs, sealant is applied to fill the void, preventing further damage or infection, and allowing the tooth to heal.
The treatment process is quick and pain-free. Our veterinary dentists smooth the affected area and apply the light-cured acrylic bonded sealant, protecting the exposed dentin structures. The procedure is outpatient and requires no recovery period. Sealant protects your pet’s tooth for 3-12 months depending on environmental variables like chewing intensity and diet. Most applications are radiographed at 6-12 months to ensure that treatment was successful.
Feline tooth reabsorptions are when a cat’s body begins to attack its own teeth, occurring when cells called odontoclasts are activated and begin eating away at healthy dental bone cells. Although the root cause is still unknown, FORLs are one of the most common dental diseases in cats, affecting nearly two-thirds of all pets.
Photo courtesy of American Veterinary Dental College
Tooth extraction is currently the most effective treatment method. If left in place, the tooth will continue to be eroded and cause additional pain, making removal necessary. Extraction is a simple outpatient procedure requiring only light anesthetic and a short recovery period.
Root planing is a dental process that removes plaque and calculus from the affected regions of your pet’s mouth. Eliminating these irritants helps fight inflammation and contributes to overall periodontal health.
Large-scale plaque buildup is a haven for harmful bacteria that contribute to periodontal disease. Root planing and scaling “deep cleans” the target area from the gums down to the roots, a scraper or ultrasonic tool is used to remove harmful agents and stop the progression of gum disease. Scaling is relatively painless, but local anesthesia may be administered to your cat or dog if necessary.
Depending on the severity of the periodontal disease, scaling may be a component of a larger treatment plan that includes oral surgery. Flossing and brushing your pet’s teeth is an excellent way to continue good oral health practices after the recovery period ends.
An oronasal fistula (ONF) is a passage-shaped opening between the oral cavity and the nasal cavity. ONF are the result of severe periodontal disease, botched dental extractions, trauma, foreign bodies and neoplasia, all of which damage the lining of the mouth or gums to create an unwanted communication to the nasal cavity.
An ONF will not heal without surgical intervention. Open oronasal fistulas allow food, water and bacteria to travel between the two areas, leading to unwanted sneezing and irritation, as well as increasing the likelihood of infection.
The surgical procedure uses a small section of the gums (gingival) to bridge the gap, creating a flap to cover the communication. This closes the oronasal fistula, stopping the transmission of material and allowing the wound to heal.
How can I help prevent oronasal fistulas?
Owners can prevent ONF by maintaining good oral health practices for your pet. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily will combat periodontal disease, and by extension, oronasal fistulas. Regular visits to the Dental Center at East Padden will increase the likelihood of early detection and improve the efficacy of treatment.
The Dental Center at East Padden uses Doxirobe gel (doxycycline hyclate) to treat and control periodontal disease in dogs. A single treatment helps reduce periodontal pocket depth, increase gum reattachment and reduce inflammation, working to improve gingival health in 2 to 4 weeks.
Treatment is administered via direct injection into the infected area, where it acts as an antimicrobial for several weeks, eliminating harmful bacteria. Doxirobe is often combined with antibiotics and scaling to improve treatment efficacy.
Clients should refrain from brushing their pet’s teeth for up to 2 weeks following treatment.
Consil® is a bone graft particulate used to accelerate bone growth in cats and dogs. The synthetic material is placed over the site of the defect, filling the gap and gradually allowing real bone growth to replace it. This process repairs the targeted site in about 4 weeks, with full bone strength and stiffness achieved in 3 months.
The Dental Center at Colleyville Animal Clinic utilizes Consil® in a number of dental procedures including:
Filling tooth extraction sites
Repairing weakened bony pockets resulting from advanced periodontal disease
Digital radiography is a powerful diagnostic tool used to detect dental disorders and injuries. A quick and painless process, radiology uses a controlled dose of x-ray radiation to examine your pet’s mouth, using the varying densities of its contents (teeth, gums, ligaments, etc.) to construct a composite image. This digital readout highlights any present abnormalities, allowing diagnosis and treatment to commence.
Veterinary dental x-rays are commonly used to identify tooth decay and cavities, malignant dental structures, bone loss and other periodontal diseases. Board-certified veterinary radiologists review all East Padden dental x-rays to ensure accuracy.
As the Vancouver metropolitan area’s veterinary leader, the Dental Center at East Padden utilizes updated digital radiograph technology. Digital x-rays require much lower doses of radiation and are processed almost instantly, becoming available for examination more quickly than traditional radiographs and improving pet safety.
This dental procedure helps remove and remodel diseased gum tissue. Gingivectomies are performed to eliminate deep pockets that are formed between the base of your pet’s teeth and the gum line. These pockets increase the risk of infection and harbor bacteria that accelerate periodontal disease, leading to tooth loss. If left untreated, dental disease can do irreversible damage to your pet’s mouth as well as introducing harmful bacteria into their bloodstream that can damage their heart, kidneys and liver.
The procedure begins with root planning to eliminate bacteria from the gums, then the targeted tissue is traditionally removed using a scalpel; however, modern technology has allowed for the use of lasers in some cases, this results in a less invasive treatment with a quicker recovery period.
Recovery time lasts an average of seven to 10 days. Pets should be limited to soft foods during that time. The risk of infection is still present, so the surgical sight should be kept as clean as possible.