Your pet’s dental cleaning really isn’t all that different from yours. We use cleaning tools that are very similar to the ones in your dentist’s office, just sized appropriately for pet mouths and modified to properly clean the different surfaces of your pet’s teeth. The main difference is that while you are probably awake and participating in your dental cleaning–rinse, close, open–your pet can’t understand why we’d want to mess around with her mouth. For her safety and ours, as well as her comfort, your pet will have her dental cleaning conducted while under anesthesia.
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Conducting your pet’s routine dental cleaning while she is under anesthesia allows us to clean below her gumline, where plaque and tartar can do the most damage. It also allows us to carefully examine her mouth to ensure there are no other issues and to provide additional care if any are found. Cleaning below the gumline helps prevent periodontal disease and removing the buildup found there allows us to examine the area for any potential problems and treat them before they become expensive for you and painful for your pet.
Since your pet’s dental cleaning requires the use of anesthesia, we conduct a thorough exam prior to the cleaning to ensure your pet is healthy enough to undergo the procedure. This will include a physical examination and some pre-surgical lab work. We’ll also update your pet’s medical history to include anything you’ve observed at home as this could help point us in the direction of any dental issues your pet may be experiencing.
After a cleaning, it’s important to keep your pet’s teeth clean at home. Regular brushing is the single most effective thing you can do to help protect your pet’s dental health. Even if you’re not able to brush your pet’s teeth daily, brushing several times a week will help keep plaque and tartar at bay. Be sure to choose a pet-safe toothpaste–we can make a recommendation–and start slowly.
Brushing teeth is not normal behavior for your pet and it may take some time for her to get comfortable with it being done. Choosing treats and food that will help keep the teeth clean can also benefit your pet’s dental health. If you have any questions about how to brush or what foods or treats you should choose, just ask. We’re here to help!