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What is a Dental Cleaning?

By February 3, 2016 Uncategorized

February is Dental month at New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic and that means a time when we focus our attention and yours on the oral health of your pets. We are (of course) always concerned with dental disease as it is the most common infection we see in animals and affects over 80% of the pet population, but February is a time when we like to create a little more awareness of what goes on behind the lips.

Just like in people bacteria forms on our pets teeth after eating. This bacteria uses undigested food particles as an energy source and forms a thin layer or film on the surface of the teeth which is known as plaque. Over time if this film is allowed to remain on the teeth then it forms into tartar (also known as calculus) which is the hardened brown substance that people often see on their dog or cat’s teeth. If this is not removed from the surface of the teeth, particularly under the gum line, the bacteria present can eat away at the thin ligament that holds each tooth in place. This causes pain, redness, swelling (known collectively as gingivitis) and loose teeth. The infection that is maintained in our pets mouths causes bad breath and bacteria from these infections can migrate into the bloodstream causing problems for the liver, heart and other organs. Teeth crowded together, broken teeth and damage to the hard external enamel can all predispose a pet to oral infections but virtually every animal will have some level of oral plaque, tartar and gingivitis.

So what can we do about it? Well tooth brushing, Dental care diets, oral rinses, dental chews and dental toys are all great ways to help with oral care. But the corner-stone of our dental care program is the Dental Prophylaxis or Dental Cleaning under general anesthesia. With a pet under general anesthesia, we can safely and completely inspect the oral cavity, clean all of their teeth above and below the gum line, remove any loose or damaged teeth, and (very importantly) polish the surface of a pet’s teeth to prevent further plaque formation and damage.

For more information on Dental Cleaning have a look at the information page of the American Veterinary Dental Society;  

Or this video of a Dental Prophylaxis by Dr Parr of Tender Care Animal Clinic in Georgetown, KY

If you would like more information on dental care or to find out how we can help, please feel free to contact the clinic for a dental exam for your pet.

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