Many pet owners question the need for dental care for their companion animals. Imagine if you will, not ever brushing your own teeth and only having them professionally cleaned every few years: we as humans would suffer the same type of infection, pain, and disease progression as our furry friends.
The purpose of veterinary dental exams and cleanings is to prevent and treat periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the most common disease found in companion animal medicine, and it is a condition we see all too often at Ridgefield Animal Hospital. More than 70% of all dogs and cats over the age of three have some stage of periodontal disease. Without care and attention, periodontal disease will continue to worsen, causing your pet pain, discomfort, and further possible health issues.
What happens during a dental cleaning?
Evaluation of the mouth: the awake exam includes assessment of occlusion (bite), pain response, swellings, and all surrounding areas. The anesthetized exam includes individual tooth assessment for mobility, root exposure, gingival recession, fractures and/or other abnormalities.
Digital Dental Radiographs: The digital radiograph images help us “see” what is going on under the gum line. Along with revealing root changes and tooth erosion, radiographs show all tooth deformities, fractures, infections, and/or bone loss.
Scaling: this is the removal of all calculus and plaque from the crown. We use an ultrasonic scaler and hand instrumentation.
Subgingival cleaning: is one of the main reasons we need the pet under general anesthesia. Removing the debris and build up from under the gum to stop the disease progression is the most important part of the procedure.
Extractions: prior to any extraction, we will place a local nerve block for pain management. These blocks will last for 4-6 hours post extraction. Extraction sites are closed with dissolvable sutures.
Polishing: is performed last. Polishing the surface of the crown helps to remove the scratches and imperfections caused by the scaling; a smooth surface will slow reattachment of the plaque.