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The Importance of Pet Dental Care: A Closer Look at Professional Cleanings

March 26, 2024

Dental health is an often-overlooked aspect of pet care, but it is just as important for our animal companions as it is for ourselves. Neglecting dental care can lead to serious health problems, including periodontal disease, heart disease, and kidney disease.

The Veterinary Dental Care Process

Veterinary dental care consists of two main parts: oral examinations and professional dental cleanings. Yearly oral examinations are recommended for pets of all ages. During an exam, a veterinarian will assess your pet’s mouth for signs of developmental problems, plaque and tartar buildup, periodontal disease, and oral tumors.

Professional dental cleanings are typically performed on adult dogs and cats. These procedures are performed under general anesthesia to allow for a thorough cleaning and examination of the mouth and teeth.

Pre-Anesthetic Considerations

Before any dental procedure, a veterinarian will perform a pre-anesthetic exam to ensure the pet is healthy enough for anesthesia. This exam will include blood tests to screen for underlying conditions such as anemia, kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes.

Anesthetic and Pain Management

Dental cleanings are performed under general anesthesia to ensure the pet’s comfort and safety throughout the procedure. Pain medication is administered before, during, and after the procedure to minimize discomfort. In some cases, a dental nerve block may be used to provide additional pain relief.

The Dental Cleaning Procedure

While anesthetized, a veterinary technician will monitor the pet’s vital signs closely. The veterinarian will perform a full oral exam, including dental x-rays, to identify any problems below the surface. Dental x-rays are crucial for detecting issues such as loose teeth or infected tooth roots.

Once the examination is complete, specialized instruments are used to remove plaque and tartar from the pet’s teeth. The teeth are then polished to remove scratches and create a smooth surface that is less hospitable to plaque buildup. In some cases, a dental sealant may be applied to further protect the teeth.

Importance of Home Dental Care

While professional dental cleanings are essential, pet owners play a vital role in maintaining their pet’s oral health at home. Regular teeth brushing with a pet-specific toothpaste is ideal. Providing dental chews and toys that promote chewing can also help remove plaque and tartar buildup.

By combining professional dental cleanings with a good at-home dental care routine, you can help your pet maintain a healthy smile and avoid serious health problems down the road.

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