February 2017 – National Veterinary Dental Month
Blog Spot with Dr. Brad
Aloha Kaka’ako Ohana!
Every year veterinarians across the world highlight the importance of dental health for their patients
during the month of February. There couldn’t be a better time to fire up the Kaka’ako Pet Hospital blog
to help you and your furry family members understand why this month is so important for the education
of pet owners everywhere. For this blog, we will address: cause and signs of periodontal disease, the
different grades of disease, treatment options, what we offer at our hospital, and prevention tips.
Periodontal disease is the most common ailment we see in veterinary patients. It is a result of plaque
forming bacteria coming in contact with the minerals in saliva which results in hardened plaque known
as tartar. As time passes and the tartar continues to accumulate, the disease spreads to underneath the
gum line resulting in the manifestation of periodontal disease.
Some things to monitor for at home include:
Red gum line
Tartar build up (usually begins in the back of the mouth)
Difficulty chewing food or keeping it in the mouth.
If you see any of these, call and schedule an appointment with us so we can discuss your concerns and
make a special treatment plan for your pet. More severe, but non-specific, clinical signs that may require
more emergent care include: weight loss, loss of appetite, growths, and bleeding.
Kaka’ako Pet Hospital recommends biannual visits during which all of our veterinarians perform
thorough nose to tail examinations. We always take a good look in the mouth to assess tartar
accumulation, gum health, and any possible mass development. We use the standard four stage scale
when grading your pet’s dental disease.
- Grade 1 – Mild plaque/calculus seen on tooth and minimal gingivitis.
- Grade 2 – Moderate plaque/calculus, gingivitis with possible swelling and pocket formation, and
possible bone loss.
- Grade 3 – Severe plaque/calculus, gingivitis with moderate pockets, slight to moderate pain,
significant bone loss, and little tooth mobility.
- Grade 4 – Extensive plaque/calculus, gingivitis with significant gum loss and pockets, severe
inflammation (pain), severe bone loss, and significant tooth mobility.
Have your doctor show you pictures in our exam room!
Non-anesthetic dental cleanings have become more popular over the years due to fear of putting furry
family members under anesthesia. However, they are not recommended in pets with possible
periodontal disease. In the non-sedated patient, it is impossible to clean or properly assess the disease
under the gum line. Kaka’ako Pet Hospital doctors recommend yearly anesthetic dental cleanings for
almost all of our patients. If ignored, dental disease can result is serious illness that affects quality of life.
At KPH, the doctors tailor individual treatment plans specifically to our patients. That means that we
take into consideration the anesthetic risk your pet might encounter due to other possible disease
processes. For example, if your pet has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, we can take
special precautions with our anesthetic protocol or we may forgo performing a dental cleaning on your
pet until it effects his/her quality of life.
Anytime you have questions or concerns about our recommendation, feel free to ask the doctor for
At our hospital we have access to a plethora of equipment that allows us to perform the best dental
services for your pet. All dentals receive an IV catheter for fluid therapy during the procedure. We use
injectable medications to pre-medicate and induce our patients before intubating for delivery of oxygen
and gas anesthesia to keep them asleep. Our anesthesia equipment allows us to monitor: EKG (heart
rate and conductivity), respiratory monitor, SPO2 (oxygen saturation in the blood), temperature, and
blood pressure. For the dental procedure, we use an ultrasonic scaler to remove all the plaque and
calculus before probing the gum line for pockets. If your pet has signs of grade 3 or grade 4 dental
disease, we have state of the art dental radiograph (x-ray) machine that allows us to determine if the
tooth needs to be removed. By removing severely diseased teeth, we can potentially prolong the
disease free interval and limit the need for more dentals in the future. If extractions are necessary, we
perform local anesthetic blocks in order to help numb the gum line and prevent surgical pain.
Ask Dr. Koreyasu about restorative procedures!
My philosophy as a doctor is that preventative care leads to a longer, healthier, happier life. So
naturally, prevention of periodontal disease is very important to me. There are several ways you can
prevent or limit the progression of dental disease. Some products come with more ease than others.
Unless your pet was trained at a young age, brushes/wipes and water additives can be difficult to use
and are often ineffective. Treats are often an easy and effective way you can take care of your dogs
mouth at home. There are several products on the market and a lot of them are veterinary approved.
When shopping look for the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal of approval. What dog doesn’t
like treats? Surprisingly, some dogs do not and cats are typically picky eaters. For those animals, there
are prescription diets that have been formulated by veterinarians and tested to be effective in battling
periodontal disease. We carry Science Diet and Royal Canin foods in our hospital and recommend them
for almost any prescription diet need.
While dental month was created to put your pet’s oral health in the spotlight, dental care should be an
important focal point for your pet year round and during the longevity of its life. Don’t stress out
though, we are here to help you make sure your pets live a long happy life. Call and make an
appointment specifically for a dental cleaning during the month of February and you will receive a
free pre-dental examination as well as 15% off bloodwork!