I am interested in contacting my veterinarian regarding AFTC. What shall I do prior to contacting her/him?
First, please read the frequently asked questions as it is important for you to be informed on the various issues so you are more likely to be accepted as a candidate by your veterinarian.
Second, contact us at 512-680-4952 so we can discuss details about your dog, and pricing which in general is approximately half the expense of cleaning with anesthesia.
Third, visit your vet and discuss this potential with him/her. If your veterinarian thinks it is appropriate, have him/her sign the form. We recommend that you already have the form filled out and ready for his/her signature to expedite the procedure. See "Vet Authorization Form".
Please keep in mind that if your veterinarian believes that your dog has dental issues that need to be addressed under anesthesia that should be accomplished. In the future non anesthesia teeth cleaning can be performed. If however, your veterinarian finds no issues that need to be addressed under anesthesia and simply does not wish to sign the form please see the FAQ below “I have contacted my veterinarian and he/she shows no interest in AFTC what shall I do?”
How did you learn this procedure?
How do you clean my pet’s teeth?
A proprietary training method using various behavior modification techniques including desensitization, positive reinforcement, at times mild (verbal) negative reinforcement applied with discretion, and other training techniques are used. We train your dog to be relaxed and to realize, similar to your experience during teeth cleaning, that no pain will be experienced and they can feel safe and comfortable. We treat our patients much like a dentist treats a young child during a first-time dental visit. We rely on our “dog whispering” skills to establish a trusting relationship with each dog. Even feisty pets with challenging personalities can usually be trained to allow us to clean their teeth. While we can train more than 95% of dogs for this procedure, there are some that will not cooperate. In the unlikely event that a dog experiences too much anxiety or stress, you will be advised that teeth cleaning without anesthesia is not appropriate for your dog.
How often should I clean my dogs teeth?
Consider this; we humans generally brush our teeth twice a day and we are advised to have a teeth cleaning twice a year. The frequency of dental cleaning for a dog depends on diet, age, health, breed and brushing frequency. We are aware with anesthesia it is common to wait until considerable tartar exists before cleaning. Since there is less risk with non-anesthesia teeth cleaning method we recommend more frequent cleaning more in-line with the human experience. We also have a pricing structure that will foster more frequent cleaning. When you see a tan or brown color on the teeth then it is time to have them teeth cleaned. Leaving large amounts of bacteria in your pet’s mouth may lead to other health issues as well as an unpleasant odor.
Can teeth be cleaned as well with non-anesthesia as anesthesia?
Effectiveness will vary somewhat depending on the particular dog’s behavior, but in general non-anesthesia teeth cleaning is approximately 90% as effective although in some cases it may take a few dental cleaning sessions to reach this level. In our experience this level of efficacy is very satisfactory in preventing gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Will you teach me how to brush my dog’s teeth?
We will be glad to help you learn to brush your dog’s teeth. If you have tried to brush your dog’s teeth and are having difficulty, we advise you not to attempt it as your dog can learn inappropriate avoidance behaviors that will make brushing your dog’s teeth or having them cleaned in the future more difficult.
May I watch the procedure?
This is not possible for several reasons. First, this is a training process; if you are present the dog will pay attention to you and we need the dog to pay attention to us. When you are not present your dog will begin to bond with us rather than looking to you for comfort . The relationship we are building is one of trust and relaxation.
Are your tools sanitized?
Yes, we sanitize all our tools, and follow standard veterinarian protocol to conduct the procedure.
I have contacted my veterinarian and he/she shows no interest in AFTC what shall I do?
Please be aware that there are reasons a veterinarian may not be interested in AFTC and a veterinarian as an owner of a business sets his/her direction for their practice. Of course some veterinarians may have, for whatever reasons, decided that there is no clinical value in our offering. What is important is that they base their opinion on scientific data and experience. A practicing veterinary scientist should be inquisitive and looking for potential new treatment models that may be advantageous. You may wish to ask the veterinarian if he/she is basing the decision on any current research and introduce your veterinarian to the studies in our References. We would be interested in knowing about their research and even participating in a study. Your communication to us regarding your veterinarians thoughts is welcome so we can inform other interested clients. In addition, we may be able to lead you to a veterinarian that has not yet been approached or has already signed the AFTC form for another client.
How does periodontal disease in dogs occur?
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support teeth. In the early stage of gingivitis, the gingiva becomes swollen and red due to inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to the presence of pathogenic bacteria. In more advanced forms of periodontal disease, namely periodontitis, one will see recession and destruction of the supporting alveolar bone. Although inflammation as a result of a bacterial infection is behind all forms of periodontal disease, a variety of factors can influence the severity of the disease. Important risk factors include inherited or genetic susceptibility, lack of adequate home care, age, diet, health history, and medications (Krasse and Brill, 1960, Page and Schroeder, 1982, Genco et al., 1998, Gorrel, 1998, Harvey, 1998, Lund et al., 1999; Roudebush et al., 2005, and Logan, 2006). Periodontal disease is the most prevalent oral disease seen in small animals, specifically dogs and cats, (Page and Schroeder,1981, Hamp et al. 1984, Reichart et al, 1984, DeMeijer et al, 1991, Hoffmann and Gaengler, 1996, and Harvey, 1998, and Lund, 1999). It can be a very painful and often debilitating disease to the affected animal, and unfortunately most pet owners will not know that their pet is suffering until the animal is showing obvious signs of discomfort from more advanced forms of periodontitis. Periodontal disease has also been associated to multiple systemic conditions, so preventing and treating periodontal disease is of paramount importance to the overall health of the affected animal (Mealey, 1999, Glickman et al, 2009, and Glickman et al, 2011). See (Professional Outpatient Preventive Dentistry (POPD): Can It Be Done Safely and Effectively Without the Use of General Anesthesia?)