Why is Dental Cleaning Necessary, and What’s Involved?
Once tartar has formed it needs to be removed by professional scaling and polishing. The goal is to thoroughly remove the tartar and invisible plaque both above and below the gum line, which can only be accomplished while an animal is under anesthesia.
To safely prepare your animal for a dental procedure, Caring Hands will run pre-anesthetic blood tests to ensure that kidney and liver function are satisfactory for anesthesia. Sometimes antibiotic treatment is instituted before a full dental procedure is performed.
Tooth scaling will be performed using both hand scalers and ultrasonic cleaning equipment to remove tartar both above and below the gum line. The teeth are then polished to help prevent subsequent plaque build-up. It can be difficult to predict the extent of dental disease in advance of the procedure, and in moderate to severe cases teeth extractions may be necessary.
Any procedure involving anesthesia at Caring Hands is handled with extreme care by our surgical team. Animals are continually monitored both during and after their procedure by experienced professionals utilizing state-of-the-art equipment.
Most pets show few signs of dental disease, so it is up to the animal’s family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.
Our experienced dental team utilizes state-of-the art dental x-ray and ultrasonic scaling equipment for treatment of periodontal disease and fracture repair.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a term used to describe inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. Accumulation of tartar and calculus on the teeth contributes to gum recession around the base of the tooth.
Infection soon follows and the gums recede, exposing sensitive unprotected tooth surfaces. Untreated infection then spreads into the tooth socket and ultimately the tooth loosens and is lost.
As the oral infection increases, tonsillitis and pharyngitis can also occur. In addition, the bacteria are absorbed into the blood stream and can be carried to other organs. Heart valve infections (endocardiosis or endocarditis), kidney and liver problems are frequently caused by “bad teeth”.
What is tartar?
The mouth of all mammals is home to thousands of bacteria, many of which will breed on the surfaces of the tooth and form an invisible layer called plaque. Some plaque is removed naturally by the dog’s tongue and chewing habits, but if allowed to remain on the tooth surface the plaque thickens, becomes mineralized, and is then visible as tartar.
The tartar presses on the gums, which recede, causing inflammation and infection called gingivitis. The gums continue to recede until ultimately the tooth socket is infected and the tooth is lost.
Can tartar be prevented?
Plaque becomes mineralized in some dogs much quicker than in others. Regular home care such as tooth brushing, providing special canine chew toys, as well as feeding specifically-formulated dental diets may help reduce tartar build up.