My dog, Kit Kat, LOVES giving kisses. You can't touch her without her tongue sneaking in for a lick! So when she came up to me with her breath smelling like rotting fish on a hot summer day, I decided that home brushing wasn't enough and we needed professional intervention!
How does a dental cleaning work?
Just like human dentistry, our dogs and cats get their teeth cleaned and polished. The only difference is that dogs and cats won't sit patiently with their mouths open, so we have to anesthetize them. (Come to think of it, some of my friends don't sit patiently with their mouths open at the dentist either...)
After your pet has an exam by the veterinarian, their blood may be drawn to check for underlying issues with the liver, kidneys, and healing factors. The results are done in 20 minutes and based on those results, the patient is pre-medicated with a light sedative.
An IV catheter is placed so that fluids can be administered during this lengthy procedure to keep them hydrated, to keep the blood pressure to a normal level, and to flush the kidneys and liver of the anesthetic medications.
After administering the anesthetic medication, the patient is intubated (a tube is placed in the trachea) and put on an oxygen and anesthetic gas mixture to keep them asleep during the procedure.
Heart rate, breathing, blood oxygen levels, and temperature are monitored by a machine as well as the assisting veterinary technician as a double-check system.
Warm blankets, water bottles, and other warming methods are used to keep the pet's temperature from getting too cold.
In most practices, dogs and cats also get radiographs (x-rays) of their mouth to look for underlying issues that physical examination cannot reveal. Our veterinarians look for abscesses, broken roots, nerve exposure, bone damage, and tumors. This saves your pet from having to go under anesthesia a second time for an issue that could have been dealt with during the first dental. It saves you money also.
Cleaning and charting
We use an ultrasonic scaler that cleans the teeth quickly with minimal damage to the enamel.
We use hand scalers as well to get into the tight crevices and areas where the ultrasonic scaler cannot go.
After cleaning the teeth, the veterinarian goes in and charts each tooth and checks the gums and mouth to look for obvious signs of disease.
The veterinarian also looks at the radiographs to make a better decision about the affected tooth. This is helpful when deciding to keep a tooth or extract one.
Tooth extraction happens for a variety of reasons. The pet could have retained baby teeth that never fell out when the adult teeth came in. This causes infection to go directly to the adult tooth and can harm it.
There may be an abscessed tooth that is painful or causing infection to spread to the other teeth. This tooth may not be able to be salvaged, so it is extracted.
Bacteria, tarter, and plaque spread beneath the gum-line and loosens the tooth from the gums causing the tooth to be mobile; this type of tooth is extremely nasty and can spread bacteria to the heart, liver, and kidneys; everywhere the pet's blood flows is affected and can cause organs to not function well.
Polish, Rinse, Repeat
After cleaning, charting, and extracting, the last step is polishing and rinsing. Polishing helps get rid of the extra fine areas the scalers couldn't reach as well as smooth any scratches that may have been caused on the enamel.
The rinse helps freshen the breath and put a layer of enzymes to help protect the teeth until home care can be started.
Home Care Goodies
Now that you have invested your time and money into getting your pet's teeth back to square one, it's important to keep it that way as long as you can! We send home a free goodie bag full of home care supplies to get you started.
t/d Dental Care from Hill's Prescription Diet is a maintenance diet that is designed to help scrape plaque off the teeth.
Clenz-a-dent Chews have an enzyme that protects the teeth as your dog chews
Dentahex Oral Rinse is a great mouthwash to use if you have difficulties brushing your pet's teeth.
C.E.T. Toothpaste and Toothbrush are to be used, at a minimum, 3 times a week for good results.
How to brush your pet's teeth
(Click on picture for a larger view.)
You get what you pay for
Now that you know our high standard of care with our dental cleanings, it is important to always ask the right questions of your veterinarian.
- Does your pet have blood work prior to anesthesia?
- Do they get any IV fluids?
- Are they monitored during and after their procedure?
- Do they do dental x-rays?
- Do they give a home care kit?
Here at Davis Animal Hospital, we strive to give your pet the best care available, while keeping costs reasonable for the Pensacola area.
If you have questions or need to schedule a dental cleaning, please call us at 850-479-9484.