Why is a “Dental” important?
Oral hygiene is incredibly important to maintain your pet’s overall health. We recommend daily teeth brushing to prevent the need for frequent dental cleanings, but we know how hard this is to keep up with. Dental treats and water additives can be helpful for your pets oral health, but nothing replaces daily brushing (and flossing for the real go-getters!). For most pets, we recommend dental cleanings every 2-3 years, although some may need more frequent cleanings.
What we do during a “Dental”
During a dental cleaning, we use an ultrasonic scaler to remove tartar from the teeth and from under the gum line, which helps prevent infection and bone loss. It also helps prevent the spread of harmful bacteria to the heart, liver and kidneys. The teeth are then polished, which helps delay recurrence of plaque and tartar build-up.
Before cleaning with the ultrasonic scaler, we take full mouth dental x-rays and probe around each tooth to determine if there is any periodontal disease and to determine if any teeth need to be removed.
Why would a tooth need to be removed?
We remove teeth to make sure your pet has a pain free, infection free mouth. A tooth needs to be removed when they are severely broken, if the inner part of the tooth called the pulp is exposed, if the tooth is mobile (loose), if the tooth is dead, or if we see evidence of infection. We always hope to take out as few teeth as possible, but after probing and taking dental x-rays, we sometimes find unexpected disease hiding under the gumline.
How long does a cleaning take?
If your pet doesn’t need any teeth removed, the process takes under 1 hour. If we do need to perform extractions, it will take longer. We always make sure to keep owners informed about the need for extractions before removing any teeth.
What are symptoms my pet may need a “dental”?
Broken or loose teeth
Teeth are discolored or covered in tartar
Abnormal chewing or drooling
Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
Pain in or around the mouth
Bleeding from the mouth
Swelling around the mouth
Extra teeth or retained baby teeth