A professional dental cleaning is required to remove plaque and tartar from a dog’s teeth and to assess the health of the mouth. Dog teeth cleaning requires that the dog be under anesthesia. Village Vet routinely performs dental cleanings and suggests your pet have it’s teeth checked each year as part of it’s annual pet exam.
It’s estimated that 85 percent of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth and the main cause of early tooth loss.
Periodontal disease starts when bacteria combine with food particles to form plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria work their way under the gums and cause gingivitis — inflammation of the gums. Once under the gums, bacteria destroy the supporting tissue around the tooth, leading to tooth loss. This condition is known as periodontitis. Gingivitis and periodontists make up the changes that are referred to as periodontal disease. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also travel in the bloodstream to infect the heart, kidneys, and liver.
A professional veterinary dog teeth cleaning is the only way to remove tartar from the teeth and under the gum tissue to protect your pet’s health. With a professional dental cleaning and follow-up care, gingivitis is reversible. Periodontal disease is not reversible, but diligent at-home dental care and regular veterinary cleanings can slow down the progression of the condition.
What Is a Dog Teeth Cleaning?
During a dog teeth cleaning (sometimes called a prophylaxis), plaque and tartar are removed from a pet’s teeth, and the health of the entire mouth (tongue, gums, lips, and teeth) is assessed. A thorough dental cleaning can be accomplished only while the pet is under general anesthesia. Anesthesia keeps your pet free of pain during the dental procedure and allows your veterinarian to fully inspect the teeth and remove tartar from under the gums. During anesthesia, a soft plastic tube is inserted into the trachea (the main airway in the throat) to support the patient’s breathing. Placement of the tracheal tube also prevents inhalation of bacteria that are aerosolized during the dental cleaning.
A dog teeth cleaning may include the following:
- Removal of visible plaque and tartar from the teeth
- Elimination of plaque and tartar from under the gum
- Probing of dental sockets to assess dental disease
- Polishing to smooth enamel scratches that may attract bacteria
- Dental radiographs (X-rays) to evaluate problems below the gum line
- Application of fluoride or a dental sealer
- Removal or repair of fractured or infected teeth
- Dental charting so progression of dental disease can be monitored over time
- Inspection of the lips, tongue, and entire mouth for growths, wounds, or other problems
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