To combat the effects of dental disease, the first step to a healthy smile for your best friend will be a dental assessment. This will be performed at your pet’s annual wellness visit. Our veterinarians will assess the teeth and gums of your pet to determine the degree of the damage, and formulate a treatment plan.
In addition to the assessments, we recommend yearly or twice-yearly dental cleanings. During the cleaning, our staff will use an ultrasonic scaler to remove the build-up on the patient’s teeth. This will help prevent periodontal disease, tooth decay, infections, and cysts or tumors of the mouth. We also perform full-mouth digital dental x-rays on all pets who are receiving a dental cleaning.
During the cleaning, your pet will be put under anesthesia for their comfort. This is necessary for two reasons. The first is that without anesthesia, it is impossible to inspect below the gumline, which is where most dental disease occurs. The second reason is for the health of both the practitioner and the pet patient. The loud sound of the machine scares most animals when it is so up close, and we do not want this to result in a bite or an emotional trauma for them.
Imagine going to the human dentist, but not brushing at home between visits. Although the dentist performed a professional dental cleaning, your dental health would still suffer. The same is true for our pet’s dental health.
On the same note, we understand that not all pets will be receptive to at-home brushing. To help make at-home care less stressful for both you and your pet, your veterinarian can recommend at-home dental care alternatives in the forms of dental treats, dental chews, and dental rinses. While these methods are not quite as effective as brushing, they do help to clean the surface of the teeth and break down plaque build-up.
If you have a young pet at home, we recommend that you start brushing their teeth at home at a young age. This will help your pet be more comfortable and tolerant.
Importantly, never use human toothbrushes or other human dental products on your pet! Human dental products can inflict harm and be toxic to your companion animal. Ask your veterinarian for specific pet-safe dental product recommendations.