What happens when your pet has a “dental”?
During a routine dental procedure your pet has much more than just a teeth cleaning. During an annual exam a doctor is only able to get a cursory view of your pet’s mouth and teeth. Even in a really cooperative patient there is only so much of an exam you can do on an awake pet. Our pets are not going to hold still for instruments to be stuck in their mouths and their teeth to be probed, their tongue moved around to examine under it and their lips stretched out and examined not to mention their teeth cleaned and polished.
The tartar you can see on the teeth is unhealthy but it’s the tartar and plaque hiding up under the gum line that causes not only gingivitis but eventual loss of the tooth. Even the most cooperative pets, with healthy teeth and gums, require anesthesia for a thorough cleaning and exam to happen. In some pets just doing a simple exam of the mouth is too stressful or painful to do when they are awake.
Once the pet is anesthetized the teeth are thoroughly cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler like your own dental hygienist uses. The technician cleans the tartar you can see and also what you can’t see hiding up under the gum line.
When the teeth are pearly white again, they are polished with an abrasive paste. Polishing helps make the enamel smooth again so plaque and tartar don’t build back up so fast. After polishing, and sometimes during the cleaning process, an antiseptic solution is applied to the teeth kill the bacteria present. Then, a fluoride foam is applied to the clean, polished teeth.
When the technician is finished, any missing teeth are charted on a dental chart and it is the doctors turn to examine the mouth.
The doctor probes around the gum line of each tooth looking for periodontal pockets. Any findings of pockets, gum recession, root exposure or fractured teeth are added to the chart.
After the teeth and gums are examined, the doctor will examine the rest of the mouth looking for masses and any other abnormalities.
When the exam is complete, the technician will take x-rays if needed and the doctor will perform any necessary extractions and other treatments.
Taking care of the oral health of our pets is so important, not just for their health, but for their quality of life. Animals won’t always tell us if their mouth is painful, many won’t even slow down on their eating. It’s up to us to make sure they are as happy and healthy as we can help them be.
To schedule an oral exam or dental procedure for your pet, call us at 352-343-7793.