The majority of pets develop some form of dental disease by the time they reach the age of 3, so it’s no surprise this is one of the most common conditions seen by veterinarians. Besides causing pain and discomfort, untreated dental disease can lead to tooth loss, difficulty eating, behavioral changes, and even systemic infection, which could impact the kidneys, heart, and other major organs.
Besides good at-home care (i.e. daily tooth brushing), many pets need regular professional cleanings and examinations. Many pet owners are nervous when it comes to scheduling a dental treatment for their pet, but we want to reassure you that pet dental cleanings are a safe and healthy approach to supporting your pet’s oral health.
Getting Ready for a Pet Dental Cleaning
When we see the dentist for a cleaning or treatment, we sit back in the chair, open our mouths, and sit patiently while our teeth are examined. Obviously, we can’t ask the same of our pets, which is why anesthesia is required to perform a proper exam or cleaning.
Although we use the lowest amount of anesthesia necessary, making sure your pet is healthy prior to the procedure is critical. Every pet dental cleaning begins with a thorough health history of your pet, along with diagnostic testing to ensure your pet is healthy enough for the procedure.
Beneath the Surface
Professional cleanings and exams performed under anesthesia are essential to the ongoing health of your pet’s mouth. The process includes the following:
- Existing conditions – Assessing known dental conditions such as fractured teeth
- Dental scaling – Using a hand scaler to remove tartar above and below the gum line
- Polishing – Polishing each tooth to ensure surfaces are smooth and more resistant to plaque and tartar buildup
- Thorough examination – A complete exam that looks for inflammation, sores, lumps, or other problems
- Digital x-rays – Taking dental x-rays to get a clear view of the gums, roots, and jawbone
A Fresh Start
Once your pet has come out of anesthesia, they will rest with us until we clear them to return home. Remember, your pet’s white teeth and fresh breath won’t last without consistent, dedicated at-home dental care. Your veterinarian will discuss recommendations for follow-up care before you take your pet home.