Dental examinations are performed during routine wellness examinations when the veterinarian visually inspects the teeth and gums. For further diagnostic information, full-mouth dental x-ray radiography can be used to view the teeth, surrounding bones, and tissues of the mouth below the gum line, where the majority of dental disease is found. These x-ray’s can help us find underlying issues we would otherwise not know about.
We recommend annual dental cleanings, and perform our dental cleanings with the help of an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar. Because the machine can be noisy, and we must access the area below the gumline, we will use a general anesthetic to safely perform the procedure. During the cleaning, we will scrape and scale the surface of the teeth, and then polish the teeth to leave a smooth surface, which will discourage future plaque from developing.
Some pet owners are able to brush their pets’ teeth at home, which we recommend if possible. This will help to keep your pet’s teeth and gums clean between visits, which will also help to lessen the number of professional dental cleanings needed during the pet’s lifetime. It’s best to begin brushing a pet’s teeth at a young ago, so they are less stressed and more tolerable of the process. Many dogs and most cats are not amenable to this form of dental care, but thankfully there are many varieties of treats and toys on the market to help break down plaque and tartar. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation next time you are in the office and they will be happy to help you select one for your pet. Please do not use human dental products on your pet.