August 21, 2018
Your pet’s world revolves around its mouth.
As humans, we brush our teeth twice a day, and we go to the dentist every six months for a cleaning . . . or at least we’re supposed to! Your dentist takes dental x-rays to look at your roots and the structure of your teeth, and then scales (cleans) all the tartar and junk off. Lastly, they finish by polishing to help protect your teeth.
Even with all the preventative care we do, we still sometimes get cavities or need root canals . . . or worse!
So, can you imagine how much gunk and bacteria your pets accumulate without being able to brush their teeth daily? Not to mention all the questionable things they chew on or pick up outside.
This is why it is so important for us to keep up with preventative dental care for our pets! Not only can they not maintain proper oral hygiene on their own, but they also can’t communicate when they are in pain or have discomfort.
Proactive dental care doesn’t just help “bad breath,” but it can actually add 2-3 YEARS to your pet’s life! So what do we mean by “proactive dental care?” Read more on our blog about how to be proactive with your pet’s dental health.
The Dental Cleaning Process
The Dental Exam
Dental health is just as important as your pet’s overall health, and proactive dental care can actually add 2-3 years to your pet’s life! For this reason, our veterinarian will perform a dental exam with every wellness visit. During this exam, we will asses the condition of your pet’s teeth and gums and grade the level of periodontal disease. After considering your pet’s exam, breed, and lifestyle, we will make recommendations for dental care or treatment.
Pre-Surgery Blood Work
Before putting your pet under anesthesia, we will perform a pre-anesthetic blood profile to maximize your pet’s safety and alert the doctor to the presence of dehydration, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, and/or kidney or liver disease, which could complicate the procedure. These conditions may not be detected unless a pre-anesthetic profile is performed. In addition, the results of these tests may be useful later to develop faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatments in the event that your pet’s health changes.
When your pet arrives on the day of the dental cleaning, our veterinarian will perform an examination, including an evaluation of their heart and respiration, to make sure that they are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. The doctor will review your pet’s history and the pre-anesthetic blood work in order to assess possible risks and create a specific plan for your pet’s anesthetic protocol. Your pet will receive an IV catheter, which allows us an easy route to administer medications and fluids to support kidney function and blood pressure during the dental cleaning. We will also place monitoring equipment on your pet to constantly observe your pet’s vitals before, during, and after the procedure.
Once your pet is stabilized under anesthesia, our technicians will begin the dental cleaning. They will start by taking full mouth dental radiographs, which allow the doctor to assess the root of every tooth and the bone surrounding the tooth. Even if the teeth appear healthy, these x-rays reveal the structure below the gumline, which is not visible to the naked eye. The doctor will use these images to assess if any teeth need to be extracted. After the doctor extracts any diseased, fractured, or infected teeth, we will repeat x-rays to give us a before and after comparison and ensure the stability of the mouth.
The dental cleaning itself consists of scaling each tooth to remove any tartar and debris. We use state-of-the-art instruments similar to what you might see at your own dental office. Once all the teeth have been scaled, we will polish them on all sides using a dental prophy paste. Finally, we will rinse and dry the mouth and apply a sealant, which we let sit on the teeth for 1-3 minutes before wiping clean.
Garden Oaks Veterinary Clinic is conveniently located for many Houston, TX residents. We hope you’ll give our veterinary hospital the opportunity to shower your pets with the love and care they deserve!