Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.
Schedule your pet’s dental exam today! We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar build up.
What is involved with a dental exam?
A dental exam to confirm that a dental cleaning is needed is the first step. We will review with you what procedures are likely required prior to the dental cleaning. We will perform preanesthetic blood tests to ensure that kidney and liver function are satisfactory for anesthesia as well as an evaluation of the heart and abdomen if needed. Anesthesia is important to allow a tooth-by-tooth examination including dental X-rays.
What happens during a professional dental cleaning visit for my dog?
A dental cleaning visit will include a thorough dental examination, teeth cleaning, and polishing to remove the tartar and periodontal disease-causing plaque. This is done while your dog is under general anesthesia. Once anesthetized, your veterinarian with the help of veterinary assistants will thoroughly examine the mouth, noting abnormalities in the medical record. A dental probe will be used to evaluate gum bleeding and periodontal pockets where food can accumulate and decay if not properly cared for. In some cases, out veterinarian will determine that one or more teeth are too diseased and must be removed. This includes teeth that are loose, fractured, or otherwise unhealthy. Extracting a tooth may be fast and simple, especially if the tooth is already loose.
Preventing Problems During a Dental Cleaning
Regular cleaning and proper oral hygiene at home are essential and may prevent the need for a more in-depth dental exam for your dog. Brushing your dog's teeth regularly can also help it get used to dental inspections, making the cleaning easier for everyone involved.
Because your dog will be under anesthesia, it's rare that problems will occur during the exam. The vet may find unexpected results once she enters the dog's mouth, but will discuss any options before taking action.