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What is a Professional Veterinary Dental Cleaning?

As a pet owner, you have your pet’s best interest at heart and want to make the best choice for their care. When choosing your pet’s dental care, be sure to learn about a comprehensive veterinary dental cleaning, also known as a professional dental cleaning, and its long-term benefits for your pet’s overall health.

What you can expect from a professional veterinary dental cleaning:

A veterinary dental cleaning always begins with a health check and examination of your dog or cat’s mouth by a veterinarian. This allows the veterinarian not only to get a general idea of your pet’s dental condition, but is also to make sure they are healthy enough to undergo a dental procedure. Preanesthetic blood work will determine whether your pet is sufficiently hydrated and that its kidneys are functioning well enough to undergo anaesthesia.

Anaesthesia is a key component of a professional veterinary dental cleaning; a pet cannot be expected to willingly keep its mouth open for as long as an hour, especially when scaling tools will be used to scrape its teeth.

We often also use a local anaesthetic in your dog or cat’s mouth during procedures. This allows the veterinarian to use less general anaesthetic thereby improving the safety of the anaesthetic procedure and allowing your pet to recover more quickly and with less pain.

While under anaesthesia, a comprehensive veterinary dental cleaning will include the following, without any pain or discomfort to your pet:

  • A complete oral exam to identify any problems beneath the gum-line.  It would be impossible to examine this area on an awake dog or cat, but this is where periodontal disease begins with bacteria ‘living’ below the gum tissue.
  • Using ultrasonic and hand scaling tools, plaque and tartar are removed from your pet’s teeth both above and below the gum line. Each tooth and the gums are evaluated for disease. This exam determines if any teeth may need to be extracted. Typically, teeth are extracted only when keeping them in the mouth will lead to further disease and pain for the pet.
  • Depending on what procedures are done, antibiotics and/or pain medication may be administered.
  • Last, the teeth are polished leaving a completely smooth surface of the tooth which discourages plaque and bacteria from adhering to the rough tooth surface.

Your pet is monitored throughout the anaesthetic and recovery, and we will discuss with you when they are ready to go home.  We would expect most patients to be back to normal within 24 hours.  Extraction sites are usually healed within 7-10 days.

The most important thing to consider after a dental cleaning is the home care to help prevent tartar build-up again.