Checking your pet’s oral health is part of every office visit at My Best Friend. During the exam, the veterinarian will look for evidence of significant dental diseases—such as plaque buildup, gingivitis, receding gum lines, mobility of teeth, root exposure, and bone loss around the root. If dental disease is observed, the veterinarian may recommend a professional dental cleaning for your pet. Just like for humans, it’s an important part of maintaining overall health and quality of life. However, unlike people, pets need to be placed under anesthesia for us to be able to take X-rays, thoroughly clean teeth, and perform any necessary extractions. That’s why, even if no extractions are required, this procedure is treated like a surgical procedure.
Why Is Pet Dental Cleaning Important?
Plaque and tartar that build-up on your pet’s teeth can lead to gingivitis. Reddened, bleeding gums, difficulty chewing, and bad breath are all signs of gingivitis. Untreated, it can progress to a more advanced form of periodontal disease, including bacterial infections that can result in tooth loss.
The same bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontal disease can also be carried into the bloodstream and cause damage to your pet’s kidneys, heart, liver, and other organs. Regular dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar and prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Our Dog & Cat Teeth Cleaning Process
Because anesthesia is required to keep your pet still during the cleaning, we first perform a thorough physical exam and blood work to ensure that your pet is healthy before we begin. These tests also help us develop an anesthetic protocol that is specific for your pet.
Once anesthesia is administered, we take X-rays of the whole mouth to check the root structure of the teeth. This is part of how we identify if any teeth need to be extracted during the cleaning.
The veterinarian then performs any extractions as necessary.
Then we use ultrasonic equipment to clean each tooth above and below the gum line and finish the procedure by polishing the teeth.
We observe your pet as they wake up from anesthesia while keeping them warm and comfortable. Once they are awake, we will call you to let you know how the procedure went, and to give owners any after-care instructions.
Symptoms of Pet Dental Problems
Many pet owners ask us how to tell if their pet is having dental trouble. Some signs to watch for that could indicate a problem with their oral health include if the pet:
Stops eating regularly
Paws or rubs its face
Has bad breath
Tips for Pet Dental Care
Plaque forms in as little as six hours after your pet’s dental cleaning. To prevent tartar accumulation after the procedure, home dental care including regular tooth brushing is a must. Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth at the end of each day will help to remove all bacteria from food that they have eaten during the day before it can start to cause damage.
In dogs, it is never recommended they use hoofs of any kind for chewing, as they can break teeth. If you are going to give your dog something to chew on, use beef bones or rawhide.
For cats and dogs, there is a special diet called T/D which may be recommended to encourage better dental health. T/D diet foods are used to prevent tartar buildup and gingivitis. Our nutritional counseling services can help determine if your pet’s diet may be affecting their dental health.
Cat and Dog Dental Cleaning Services
If your pet has bad breath, is having difficulty chewing, or is refusing to eat his or her normal food, contact My Best Friend Veterinary Center today. We can examine your pet’s mouth and teeth and get your pet’s dental health in tip-top condition!