What’s involved in a dental cleaning for my pet?

You've heard it before - having your pet's teeth cleaned regularly by a veterinarian can greatly improve your pet's health and well-being.  For that reason we take dental care seriously at PenBay Veterinary Associates.  Getting a pet's teeth cleaned isn't the same as your trip to the dentist.  First off - despite great intentions, most pet owners don't brush their pet's teeth on a regular basis.  In order to provide the maximum benefit and comfort for your pet, we following the standards of the American Animal Hospital Association for dental cleanings:

Oral Examinations: AAHA recommends that veterinarians evaluate puppies and kittens for problems related to deciduous (baby) teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth, swelling, and oral development. As pets age, our veterinarians will examine your pet for developmental anomalies, accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease, and oral tumors. The veterinarian can perform a basic oral examination while pets are awake. However, short-lasting anesthetic is required for a more complete examination.

Dental cleanings: Guidelines recommend regular examinations and dental cleanings under general anesthesia for all adult dogs and cats. In general, these cleanings should take place annually starting at one year for cats and small-breed dogs, and at two years of age for larger-breed dogs.

During a dental cleaning at PenBay Veterinary Associates you can expect:

A pre-anesthetic exam–Your veterinarian will examine your pet to ensure it is healthy enough to go under general anesthesia. Depending on the age and health of your pet, this examination will include some if not all of the following:

  • Blood test
  • Urine tests
  • Electrocardiograph
  • X-rays

Anesthesia monitoring–When your pet is under anesthesia, its vital signs (such as body temperature, heart rate, and respiration) should be monitored and recorded. This helps ensure your pet’s safety while under anesthesia.

Dental radiographs–X-rays of your pet’s teeth are needed periodically to evaluate your pet’s oral health. X-rays also help veterinarians detect abnormalities that cannot be seen through physical examination alone. They can also confirm the need for tooth extraction when teeth are loose or badly infected. Half of a pet's tooth is below that gumline that means without dental x-ray your veterinarian is only seeing half the picture.

Scaling and polishing–Using instruments much like human dentists, veterinarians remove plaque and calculus from your pet’s teeth. Polishing with a special paste smoothes out scratches to the tooth enamel.

Fluoride/sealants–By applying an anti-plaque substance, such as a fluoride treatment and/or a barrier sealant, the veterinarian helps strengthen and desensitize teeth and discourage the development of future plaque.

If you're interested in learning more about your pet's dental health the best thing to do is to talk to your veterinarian. We are happy to discuss the best plan custom designed for your pet's needs.

PenBay Veterinary Associates is a proud member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). For more information please visit www.penbayvets.com or call 594-8300.

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"When they are more than pets, choose PenBay Vets"


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