Veterinary dentistry is quite different from the equivalent process in people. For most of us, caring for our teeth and gums has been part of our daily routine for as long as we can remember. Consequently, a person's visit to the dental hygienist is relatively brief and does not require sedation. In contrast, veterinary dentistry is considerably more involved, time-consuming, and complex. It requires general anesthesia, and consequently a day’s hospitalization and the skills of several people, from veterinarians to veterinary technicians and animal attendants.
A pre-dental workup involves laboratory and diagnostic tests to better evaluate a pet’s current health status and to assure safe anesthesia. Current medical problems must be evaluated and any possible unknown problems must be identified prior to dentistry.
For otherwise healthy young animals, we suggest a brief in-hospital blood screen on the day of the dentistry. For older animals, a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry profile (SMA20) is taken at least one day prior to the dentistry. A preoperative electrocardiogram (EKG) may be suggested in certain circumstances.
Your pet’s dental cleaning will begin with a physical examination. This is important to evaluate your pet's general health. After the physical exam, your pet is given an anesthesia for a safe and painless sleep during the dental cleaning.
The first part of dental cleaning requires the removal of tartar. This is done with a hand scaler.
Next, a periodontal probe checks for pockets under the gum-line where periodontal disease and bad breath starts. A mechanical scaler is used to clean above the gum line while a curette cleans and smooth the teeth under the gum line in the crevice.
Your pet’s teeth are polished, creating a smooth surface. The gums are washed with an anti- bacterial solution to help delay tartar buildup both under the gum line and on the crown of the tooth.
Finally, the doctor also administers a fluoride treatment to strengthen your pet’s teeth, to desensitize exposed roots, and to decrease infection.