What to expect for your pet's dental procedure

First, you may ask, why does my pet need it's teeth cleaned? Just like people, pets need regular dental care to prevent infection, periodontal disease and tooth loss. Statistically, 80% of pets over the age of three show evidence of periodontal disease, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. Unfortunately advanced periodontal disease is irreversible and can lead to other health problems. We don't just recommend cleaning a pet's teeth so they look nice and have good breath, although these are nice benefits of proper pet dental care. One of the main reasons dental care is important is that tartar that builds up in a pet's mouth causes inflammation of the gums. The bacteria and bacterial toxins associated with this tartar and inflammation have been shown to act as a slow poison to the liver, kidneys and sometimes heart which may not manifest as problems until years later. A periodic professional dental cleaning cleans the tartar and harmful bacteria off the teeth and out of the periodontal pockets (below the gum line) and is the best defense against this threat to your pet's internal organs.
Once your pet has recovered from anesthesia it is now time to begin a preventative care routine which can involve brushing or wiping the teeth, applying Oravet sealant weekly at home, providing dental chews, or using dental rinses as ways to help keep your pet's teeth and gums as healthy as possible.
Preparation for a dental procedure is very much like preparing for other elective surgery. Pets must undergo anesthesia for dental procedures because the sounds and spraying water in their mouth scares them and since they cannot "rinse and spit" like humans. Additionally, pets do not hold still enough to get a proper cleaning under the gum line unless they are under anesthesia. To read our section on what to expect for your pet's elective surgery, click here.
Once the patient has been admitted, has its preanesthesia evaluation completed, and is under anesthesia, the heaviest tartar will be removed from your pet's teeth with dental instruments. Each tooth will then be hand scaled with an ultrasonic cleaner, just like your dentist uses, to remove dental tartar and plaque. This scaling is then followed with a polish using the same pumice type cleaner used on your teeth. The doctor then will examine each tooth and probe the periodontal pockets to evaluate for any problems. Any problem teeth will be treated or extracted as appropriate. Teeth that are healthy and without any problems will receive a flouride treatment to help strengthen the tooth enamel. Finally, Oravet sealant can be applied, if you chose this option, to help slow the return of plaque and tartar buildup.
Once your pet has recovered from anesthesia it is now time to begin a preventative care routine which can involve brushing or wiping the teeth, applying Oravet sealant weekly at home, providing dental chews, or using dental rinses as ways to help keep your pet's teeth and gums as healthy as possible.