Many of us know regular dental cleanings are beneficial to our pets. With over 85% of pets over the age of 3 affected by some form of dental disease, people are becoming more aware of this common but preventable problem. If your pet gets regular dental cleanings, you’ve probably noticed cleaner teeth, fresher breath, and decreased redness around your pet’s gum line. While the results of dental cleanings are great, have you ever wondered what happens during a cleaning? We thought you might!
The first step in a dental exam and cleaning is, of course, the exam. Part of this can occur in our office, but a thorough dental assessment of the mouth, teeth, and gums can only take place under general anesthesia. We need your pet’s full cooperation, and this is only possible if they’re completely anesthetized!
During the comprehensive exam, each individual tooth is examined and probed above and below the gum line to check for any deep pockets (or spaces) that might be infected. The health of each tooth is recorded so we have an on-going, accurate account of your pet’s entire mouth.
As part of your pet’s dental assessment, digital x-rays are taken of the teeth. This is crucial to determining the internal health of the teeth and allows us to develop a treatment plan for any damage to internal or supporting structures. Without x-rays, we’re only treating a portion of the problem and not getting to the root (no pun intended!) of the issue.
Dental Treatment and Prevention
We bet you never knew everything that happens before your pet’s teeth are cleaned, did you? Now let’s talk about dental cleanings. Basic cleanings consist of the following:
Ultrasonic scaling — This process uses ultrasonic vibration to crush and remove plaque and tartar. Washing and flushing the teeth and pockets under the gums is also part of this process to remove bacteria and their by-products.
Hand scaling — In addition to ultrasonic scaling, hand scaling will be performed to ensure we reach every nook and cranny of your pet’s mouth.
Polishing the teeth — Polishing the teeth after cleaning serves to leave a smooth surface, making it more difficult for plaque and tartar to accumulate in the future.
Fluoride treatment — A fluoride treatment helps strengthen the teeth and prevent future problems with plaque and tartar.
In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend removing one or more teeth to prevent infection and pain. Other problems requiring treatment may include:
- Fractured teeth
- Tooth resorption
What sets our dental cleaning apart?
Our expert staff take every step possible to provide exemplary service to both you and your pets. Dental cleanings are now exception to this, with special attention paid to the following:
Constant monitoring – This includes blood pressure, temperature, pulse oximetry (oxygen saturation), and heart rate monitoring.
Pain Management – Even with general anesthesia, advanced procedures can sometimes be painful. In order to make these more comfortable for your pet, we use something called a nerve block. This requires an injection into the root that numbs the tooth, blocking pain. Nerve blocks also help facilitate a quicker recovery.
Antibiotics – Did you know that your pet’s mouth is filled with bacteria? In order to minimize the risk of infection antibiotics are administered during the procedure as well provided to you for post-dental home care.
With every dental procedure, our goal is to accurately assess and treat any dental problems. By working together, we can make sure your pet’s mouth stays in good health. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a dental cleaning for your pet, please give us a call.