Put my dog or cat under anesthesia to clean their teeth?!?! Seriously, is this really necessary?
The answer to this frequent question is YES! Anesthesia and dental cleanings go hand in hand and both are necessary to help your pet live a long happy life. It all starts with some plaque building up on their teeth, the plaque contains bacteria that causes gum disease. The bacteria can be spread to internal organs like heart valves, liver and kidneys causing organ problems. If the plaque is not removed with brushing the teeth it then hardens into tartar. The tartar can push the gum line away from the teeth causing roots to be exposed or form abscesses. By getting your pet’s teeth cleaned on a regular basis you can help your pet’s mouth and internal organs stay healthy. (And it sure helps with stinky breath also!)
When your beloved pet is anesthetized for a dental cleaning, a nurse will ultrasonically scale all of the tartar off of all surfaces of the teeth. The nurse will then check each and every tooth, inside and out, for any abnormal pockets (space between the tooth and gum), discoloration, wear, or fractures. Any teeth that have significant pockets, discoloration, fractures or are loose will be radiographed to evaluate the roots. The doctor will determine if the tooth is healthy and can remain in, if it is abscessed and needs to be extracted, or if another form of treatment would be indicated. The doctor will call you during the procedure to discuss any abnormal findings and go over options for treatments. After the teeth are cleaned and checked for pockets the nurse will polish every tooth surface to smooth out any micro abrasions so plaque doesn’t have an irregular surface to stick to. Fluoride will be applied after the teeth are cleaned and polished. After your pet’s teeth are professionally cleaned it will be recommended to start or continue brushing their teeth at home to help reduce the frequency of professional cleanings. Your pet will go home with clean teeth, fresher breath and a dental go home bag consisting of free samples and information to help with keeping your pet’s teeth at their best. Proper, thorough cleaning and evaluation of every tooth surface is not something that even the best-behaved cat or dog will tolerate while awake. Therefore, anesthesia is necessary to provide your pet with the best dental cleaning and evaluation of all of the teeth, ensuring that no problem teeth are accidentally missed.
By professionally cleaning your pet’s teeth you help them live a healthier and happier life. While brushing your pet’s teeth on a daily basis is very beneficial it is often not enough to get them completely clean. Check with us to see if your pet is in need of a professional dental cleaning or if there is any home care that would be beneficial to their oral health at this time.