Freeburg Animal Hospital Blog
Good oral health is an important part of good general health for your pet.
Signs of oral and dental diseases in dogs and cats:
- Bad breath.
- Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar.
- Your pet shies away from you when you touch the mouth area.
- Drooling or dropping food from the mouth.
- Bleeding from the mouth.
- Loss of appetite or loss of weight (this combination can result from
diseases of many organs, and early veterinary examination is important).
Dental Cleaning for your Pet
Professional dental cleaning is often indicated when periodontal disease is present.
Our own teeth are scaled by a dentist or hygienist - we sit in the chair and open our mouth when requested, letting the professional do their work. While the principles of good oral hygiene and dental health are the same for dogs and cats as for people, there are some significant differences. We understand why the procedure is important, and we typically do not need sedation or restraint. Neither is true for our pets. Another important difference between human and veterinary dental practice is that we tell the dentist when there is discomfort; to ensure that nothing is missed in dogs or cats, our patients require a thorough oral examination as part of a dental scaling procedure. Your veterinary dentist may recommend dental radiographs.
Professional dental cleaning includes scaling and other steps described below.
Every professional dental cleaning starts with a review of the patient’s general health and any previous dental history. For a thorough, safe dental cleaning in veterinary patients, anesthesia is essential, as this permits a comprehensive assessment of the tissues, allows dental radiographs to be made when indicated, followed by the cleaning (scaling and polishing procedure) itself above and below the gum-line. “Non-anesthetic or Anesthesia-free dental scaling” is not recommended
If the extent of the abnormality is limited to accumulation of plaque and dental tartar with gingivitis or only mild periodontitis (bone loss around the tooth), professional dental cleaning is indicated. The veterinary dentist will call the owner if additional abnormalities requiring attention are found.
Professional dental cleaning removes dental plaque and tartar that cause periodontal disease. The dental deposits are removed by power (ultrasonic) and hand dental scalers. Following scaling, the teeth are polished to remove residual plaque and to smooth the tooth surface (which delays deposition of plaque and tartar subsequently). The mouth is rinsed to remove debris prior to a final inspection. A plaque-preventive material may be applied to the teeth. The pet owner will be provided with recommendations for daily home oral hygiene specific for dogs or cats, and a recommendation made for a follow-up examination.
If you only visit Freeburg Animal Hospital when your pet is injured or sick, you’re missing the opportunity to get a complete picture of her health. The preventive care exam allows our veterinarians to detect potential health issues and begin monitoring or treating them right away. By committing to preventive care, you could extend it by months or years. It’s well worth the investment when you consider how much love and joy your pet brings into your life.