What types of dental problems does Dr. Martin treat?
If it concerns the mouth, that's our jurisdiction! Proper dental care is more than just cleaning or pulling teeth.
Veterinary dentistry encompasses the diagnosis and treatment of teeth and their supporting structures.
That means the gums, the lips, tongue, jaw, nose, and salivary glands. Veterinary dentistry includes 6 sub-disciplines that human dentistry splits into multiple doctors at separate offices:
1) Periodontics: professional cleanings, gingivitis, periodontal disease, bone loss
2) Endodontics: fractured teeth, discolored teeth, root canal treatment, vital pulpotomies.
3) Oral Medicine: oral masses, tumors, CUPS, and stomatitis
4) Restoratives/Prosthodontics: treating cavities (caries), enamel defects, dental sealants, treatment of abrasion, working dogs, metal crown placement.
5) Orthodontics: bite evaluation, malocclusion, crown extensions, incline plane, custom appliances, or interceptive extractions.
6) Oral Surgery: extractions, tooth resorption, oronasal fistulas, cleft palate repair, mass removal, tumor removal, oral trauma, jaw fractures to name a few.
What type of treatment does Dr. Martin perform? That depends on several factors, but most dental treatments available to humans are also available to our pets. Dr. Martin is experienced in performing everything from root canals, metal crowns, braces and orthodontic appliances, to mandibulectomy for cancer, gunshot wound reconstruction, and palatal surgery. Rebecca believes that it is her job to inform you of the options for your pet's condition, and discuss the pros and cons those options. Her focus is to restore or maintain comfort and function of the mouth with a practical approach. This can often be done a variety of ways and we will tailor our plan to your pet and family's unique situation.Taking into consideration your pets overall health, dental status, and your own goals, she will make recommendations and explain the reasons behind them. For example, if the area of concern involves teeth of major functional importance, we may recommend a more aggressive treatment plan. If a treatment option would require daily brushing, but arthritis could make that difficult, then perhaps that's not a practical option long term. If your pet has a higher anesthetic risk, we may recommend the fastest treatment that won't require much professional followup. If your pet is involved in performance or working events, that will also change our approach. Ultimately we aim to help you sort through the options to make an informed decision on your pet's individual care.
My pet doesn't act like anything is bothering them. Is this necessary? We hear that every day! Most people can relate to the intensity of mouth pain. When a persons mouth hurts they can complain and take pain medications while waiting to see their dentist. Pets often suffer in silence because they cannot communicate so easily. A pet's mouth pain can be invisible, or it can manifest as aggression. That's a HUGE disparity of signs and one of the big challenges for both veterinarians and pet owners. Mouth pain is frequently a 'retro-active diagnosis,' that we don't recognize until after it is gone. Animals have to eat for survival, so appetite is not a reliable indicator of mouth pain. If a pet stops eating from mouth pain, that is very significant and we consider that one of the rare dental emergencies. More often, a pet will seem normal to us, but will adjust their habits in subtle ways. Sometimes they adjust how they chew to avoid a painful area, sometimes they stop grooming themselves or playing with toys, other times they become more reserved and less interactive. It is very common to hear that a patient is acting younger and more energetic after treatment once we have addressed the mouth pain they have been hiding.
How much is the cost of treatment? The cost of veterinary dental care depends on several factors and we cannot accurately quote fees without more information about your pet. Veterinary dentistry is notoriously unpredictable, often with new or unexpected findings once we have your pet under anesthesia and have completed a thorough evaluation with x-rays. Dr. Martin knows this can be frustrating for clients and has developed a tiered fee structure to help ease the difficulties of planning a budget. Each case is categorized as minor, typical, or major with fees set for the individual hospital according to what staffing and equipment is provided. The primary hospital combines the referral dental fee with their anesthesia and medication fees for the total cost to client as one invoice. Very few items incur additional fees, but typically include bone graft material, custom metal crowns, and histopathology testing. After the initial consultation, we will work with your primary veterinarian to generate accurate treatment plans for the options discussed. All estimates will be honored for 60 days after the consultation.
What forms of payment do you accept? All invoicing and payments are processed through the primary veterinary hospital. Dr Martin will invoice the hospital for referral services directly rather than you as the client. This simplifies billing and allows the hospital to offer their loyal clients flexibility in accordance with their own payment policies, which our mobile practice could not provide.
Do you accept pet insurance? We are happy to help you with your pet insurance claim. While many pet insurance policies do not cover "routine" dental care without wellness coverage, they will often cover tooth fractures, trauma, or periodontal treatment. Most insurance companies will request records and a paid invoice to review your claim, and then will reimburse you for the amount covered by your policy. We can help with your claim submission, and in some cases can help with the pre-approval process for treatment planning.
Is my pet too old for dental care? Age is not a disease, but it does sometimes mean that your pet has more than one problem to manage. We know anesthesia can be scary, and we certainly won't take any unnecessary risks with your loved one! While we would love to be cleaning mouths with minimal disease, the majority of our patients are seniors. With extra training in anesthesia and pain management, Dr. Martin will always have your pets best interest in mind. Dentistry and oral surgery is what Rebecca does best! Her extensive experience helps her make decisions quickly and work efficiently, which often translates into shorter anesthesia time and faster recovery with minimal complications. If your pet needs extensive work, we may decide to split treatment or prioritize care to meet our goals.
I have a wellness plan with my vet that includes a dental cleaning. Can I use that with your services? That depends. We are happy to discuss this with your regular veterinarian so we can use your resources wisely. If you have a wellness plan, we can either coordinate with your veterinarian to supervise and provide input, or we can review their findings at another time after their portion is complete. Many times having your primary veterinarian do a dental cleaning and perform x-rays can really help us plan additional treatment and be more efficient when its our turn. We call this approach, "staging." In many cases, it is better for your pet to have two anesthetic procedures that are well planned, instead of one long procedure. We would rather have the information from the evaluation and x-rays to discuss treatment options when there is no pressure to make an immediate decision. Who wants to make complicated choices when your pet is under anesthesia and waiting for your decision? You might be tempted to have important teeth extracted simply because its the only option your veterinarian can provide at that moment. With the option of "staging", using your wellness plan coverage to gain diagnostic information, we will help make an informed decision about treatment options for your pet without stress in the moment.
What are my options for anesthesia? You may have heard about 'anesthesia-free' dental care. That term is really a misnomer and we encourage you to explore credible information from the American Veterinary Dental College on this growing marketing fad. Dental care is important. Doing it properly requires more than special instruments and someone to hold your pet still. "Anesthesia-free" dental care can give you the impression that your pet's mouth is taken care of, when in reality you wasted money on a glorified tooth brushing that can actually be counter-productive. For comparison, lets consider the process during your own visit to the dentist. You are tilted backwards, instructed to move your head this way and that, move your tongue to the side, and up, hold your mouth open, now closed, no not that much, wait for suction, repeat... the time and effort the dental hygienist takes to clean, evaluate your mouth, and polish, not to mention the careful positioning for dental x-rays its no wonder many people avoid it and find it difficult to sit still! Now try explaining it to your pet so those sharp instruments don't hurt them! Regardless of how well behaved your pet is, the level of care that can be accomplished in a conscious pet is very poor.
The fact is, anesthesia is a very necessary part of being thorough in both diagnosis and treatment of dental disease. We know that anesthesia can be scary, so we don't cut corners that will compromise your pet's safety. A pre-anesthetic exam, bloodwork, urinalysis, and sometimes even x-rays or other specialist consults (like a cardiologist or internist) will help ensure we choose a protocol customized for your pet. We will review your pets previous records and can adjust drug protocols based on their previous procedures, response, and any changes in their medical status. With extra training in anesthesia and pain management, Dr. Martin will always have your pets best interest in mind. If your pet has special needs or we want to be extra cautious, we can collaborate with a board certified anesthesiologist as well!