The Importance of the Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT)

As with humans, pets need regular oral health exams and dental cleanings. With a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT), your pet’s overall oral health is evaluated, and any problems or abnormalities are identified and treated. A COHAT allows us to identify and treat periodontal disease, tooth fractures, resorptive lesions and other potentially painful problems. Without treatment, dental disease will lead to chronic pain, tooth loss, and infection which can greatly affect your pet’s overall health. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs suffer from some form of dental disease by the time they are 2-3 years old.

A comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment at BVC is as follows:

  • A physical exam is performed by the veterinarian and an individualized anesthetic protocol is selected for your pet.
  • The patient is lightly sedated to minimize stress during catheter placement and anesthetic induction.
  • Your pet is placed under general anesthesia by our highly trained and compassionate team members. Multiple parameters (ECG, blood pressure, end tidal CO2, temperature, SPO2) are monitored to ensure your pet is under a safe plane of anesthesia and is pain free during the procedure.
  • Full mouth dental radiographs are obtained and evaluated by the veterinarian.
  • All tooth surfaces are scaled, cleaned.
  • The veterinarian performs a full oral exam and evaluates all teeth for fractures, enamel defects, resorptive lesions, periodontal pockets or other diseases. All medical problems are addressed after obtaining consent from the owner.
  • The teeth are polished.
  • The patient is recovered from anesthesia by our highly trained nursing team.

Dental Radiography

Dental radiographs are an essential part of diagnosing and treating dental disease. Teeth may appear healthy above the gumline, but can have significant disease only visible with dental radiography. At Bartonville Veterinary Center full dental radiographs are performed with every COHAT. We believe that dental radiographs are an invaluable tool in providing the best possible dental care.

At Home Oral Health Care

Home care is an important part of your pets oral care. We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth daily with a toothbrush or finger brushette and pet specific toothpaste. Oral chews such as Oravet and CET chews, are a great way to treat your pet while improving their oral health. These chews decrease plaque buildup and improve oral health. At home oral care is not a substitute for routine dental exams and cleaning, but it can help prevent the need for surgical extraction and promote the general health of your pet.

The Risks of Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings

“Anesthesia free” may seem like a less risky procedure for your dog or cat than a veterinary dental cleaning under anesthesia. Of course we all love our pets and are nervous about the idea of them going under anesthesia. However, when it comes to pet dental health, the risks of periodontal disease and oral health problems due to lack of proper dental care far outweigh the risk of anesthesia.

Consider the following about anesthesia free pet dentals and Periodontal disease:

  • Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition among adult dogs and cats. Unfortunately, there are often no visible signs of periodontal disease until there is so much damage beneath the gum-line that the pet often has bone loss and loses teeth. Anesthesia free dental procedures have no way of cleaning beneath the gumline to prevent periodontal disease, nor are they able to look beneath the gum-line to identify problems before they become painful and expensive to treat.
  • During an anesthesia free dental procedure, the surfaces of your pet’s teeth are scaled with an instrument leaving grooves in the pet’s teeth and a rough surface prime for the adherence of more bacteria.
  • Your pet is very likely uncomfortable and in pain during an anesthesia free dental procedure. Anesthesia allows them to undergo a proper cleaning without any pain or discomfort.
  • Painful conditions can’t be identified during an anesthesia free pet dental procedure. It is impossible to do x-rays and adequately examine all surfaces of your pet’s oral cavity while awake. Radiographs and a veterinary oral health evaluation are vital in detecting problems early while they are relatively easy and much less expensive to treat.
  • Anesthesia free dental cleanings give pet owners a false sense of security. Unfortunately, just because their pet’s teeth appear whiter doesn’t mean they are free from oral disease.
  • The cost of an anesthesia free dental procedure is cheaper in the short run. However, pet owners are risking the need for much higher costs to care for severe dental problems that have gone unidentified for a number of years.