Dental Cleaning for your Pet
As humans it is recommended we have prophylactic dental cleanings every 6 months. Due to the genetic predisposition of our pets as well as the food they eat, often the first dental cleaning does not occur until 4-6 years of age for our dogs and cats; amazing! Different breeds are genetically predisposed to poorer dental health including our smaller breed dogs (Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature poodles, Bichon Frise ect) and may need sooner and more frequent dental cleanings. In addition cats have unique genetics and develop reabsorptive lesions that may require more frequent dental cleanings and extractions (see dental surgery).
Dental cleanings do vary when compared to our experience as a human and our pet’s experience. We understand the concept of opening our mouth and the idea that tartar removal may not be the most comfortable. Unfortunately our pets do not. Anesthesia is required in order to perform a complete dental cleaning for our pets. Pre-anesthetic blood work and a thorough examination from your veterinarian is completed prior to any anesthetic episode. When preforming a dental cleaning, the patient’s oral cavity is thoroughly examined, the patient’s mouth is charted indicating gingival recession as well as any gingival pockets that may have formed. Full mouth radiographs are obtained. This is a vital part of the dental procedure as 60% of all dental disease occurs below the gumline where the human eye is not able to view any pathology. The teeth are scaled using an ultrasonic scaler that removes any calculus (tartar) build up both above and below the gumline. The teeth are then polished just as ours are using specific pet safe toothpaste smoothing the surface and preventing further tartar accumulation. If no pathology or sub gingival lesions are observed on the radiographs our pets are then woken up and resume their normal activities.
Recommendations are made as to continued preventative and oral health measures on a per-patient basis after each dental.