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680 Red Table Dr. Gypsum, CO 81637
(970) 524-3647
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Gypsum Animal Hospital

Dentistry - Dental disease is a very common problem in pets; just as it is in people. Plaque accumulates due to saliva mixing with food and bacteria in the mouth; this sticky mess adheres to the teeth and creeps up under the gums causing gingivitis. Plaque is over 80% bacteria (yuk). Plaque can be removed by brushing your pets’ teeth.

However, once the plaque combines with minerals in saliva it hardens and is called Tartar. Tartar needs to be removed with an ultrasonic scaler, also called a cavitron. Once the tartar is removed we polish the teeth to get a smooth surface on the enamel; this helps keep tartar from coming back to quickly.

Many patients have severe periodontal (gum) disease because, well, let’s face it, their oral hygiene is not that good! Normal gums should be pink; gums that are infected (periodontal disease) are red and bleed easily. We often will prescribe antibiotics after a dental cleaning with infected gums.

After scaling we can show you how to do home care brushing and use oral rinses to keep plaque and tartar away!! Never use human toothpaste as it contains detergents that are very hard on an animal’s stomach. We also recommend feeding hard or dry food as this creates abrasion which can help keep tartar away (although there is some current debate that hard food may form a paste that can contribute to tartar…stay tuned). Hills makes a dry diet called T/D that is very effective at keeping tartar away.

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Lincoln and Dr. Steve see who has better dental hygiene!

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This photo shows severe periodontal (gum) disease and infection caused by Dental Tartar. Notice how red the gums are (inflammation and infection). This patient needed a deep scaling, ultrasonic cleaning, polishing and a course of antibiotics. The photo below is after cleaning and, almost immediately, the gums appear healthier.


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This feline patient has what we call Feline Resorptive Lesions which are the closest things to a true cavity. You can see how the probe goes right through the tooth to the inside surface (called the lingual surface). We do not know what causes these but routine hygiene and cleanings can prevent them. The photos below show how they are treated.

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Resorptive lesions are usually treated by extracting the tooth and removing or drilling out the roots; they used to be treated with a glass ionomer which is like a filling but it proved ineffective. Wd do not know what causes resorptive lesions.

These photos show us drilling out a root tip and suturing the gums back together. If you haven’t already guessed, pain medication is dispensed after this procedure but it is only needed for a day or two!

Veterinary Topics