Your pet’s teeth are not self-cleaning, and they certainly aren’t able to brush themselves. Making an annual appointment to have your pet’s teeth cleaned professionally by your veterinarian is an essential piece of your dog’s or cat’s overall health and well-being. Here’s what you can expect at a pet teeth cleaning.
· Anesthesia: A thorough dental cleaning can only be performed when a pet is under anesthesia. From the examination of your pet’s teeth and mouth to the actual cleaning, anesthesia is essential to avoid a traumatized, anxious, or angry cat or dog. With a pet under anesthesia, your veterinarian is able to thoroughly complete the entire process, from exam to x-rays to cleaning. Typically, a soft plastic tube is inserted into your pet’s trachea to support their breathing while under anesthesia and prevent the inhalation of bacteria removed during the dental cleaning.
· A dental exam: While your dentist’s exam of your own human teeth may seem cursory at best, a pet’s annual dental exam is far more thorough. A pet is unable to voice any problems or pain they are experiencing in their mouth, so a careful evaluation of your pet’s teeth and oral health is necessary to ensure that all situations are adequately identified and tended to during the dental cleaning. Your vet will also inspect your pet’s lips, tongue, and entire mouth for any wounds, growths, or other obvious concerns.
· X-rays: While your veterinarian will evaluate problems below the gumline during the dental exam, x-rays make it possible to see even more of what’s going on beneath the surface. Having your pet under anesthesia for this process ensures visible and clearly readable results, which is so important for proper diagnosis and treatment.
· Scaling: The act of scaling removes the visible plaque and tartar and bacteria build-up from your pet’s tooth enamel, but scaling also eliminates plaque from under the gumline which is where periodontal disease begins to form. During this portion of the cleaning, your vet will also probe your pet’s dental sockets in order to adequately assess whether dental disease is present. Loose teeth and then lost teeth are an indication of dental disease and that side effect begins with deeper pockets forming around a tooth.
· Polishing: The polishing of teeth is not done only to clean the teeth and make them look white and attractive again. The polishing also helps to smooth scratches in the tooth enamel to prevent the attraction of bacteria. But if you can get your pet to smile after a cleaning, it’s worth trying to get a toothy white grin on film.
· Rinsing and sealing: After the exam, cleaning, and polishing are complete, your pet’s mouth will be thoroughly rinsed. In some instances, a fluoride or dental sealant will be applied to the teeth to give them another layer of protection against plaque and build-up until the next pet teeth cleaning.
Your pet’s dental visit may also require the removal or repair of fractured or infected teeth. The dental exam will reveal what’s what and your veterinarian will likely discuss with you before the treatment what steps you would like to take for your dog’s health if any problems are discovered during the exam and cleaning.
In order to properly tend to your pet from cleaning to cleaning, dental charting will also be completed in order to monitor the progress of any dental disease. Your vet will also note any potential problems that could occur, procedures that were completed, and what may be recommended for the next cleaning. Make your pet’s oral health a priority. Schedule a pet teeth cleaning with the Northpointe Veterinary Hospital in Yuba City, CA, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.