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Dental Cleanings for pets

Tips

- 16/12/2022

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Dental disease is one of the most common health problems for our pets. Daily tooth brushing is the best way to prevent dental disease. We recommend training your pet to allow you to brush their teeth daily since they are very young, before they accumulate dental calculus. Tooth brushing can be very painful once pets have dental calculus or inflamed gums. Veterinarians recommend dental cleanings when pets have dental calculus, inflamed gums, or bad breath. 

Unlike people, tooth caries are not common in pets. However dental infections are very common. Dental calculus or tartar is an accumulation of bacteria that cause harm to your pet’s oral health. These bacteria destroy the bones surrounding the teeth. Bone destruction causes the teeth to fall. Families often assume that their senior pet’s teeth fall due to old age when in reality they fall due to painful infections. 

¿What are dental cleanings? 

During dental cleanings pets are anesthetized under general anesthesia in order to take full oral radiographs and be able to do surgical extractions when needed. Oral radiographs allow veterinarians to evaluate the roots of teeth which is where most painful infections occur. Pets also get full ultrasonic scaling and polishing, cleaning off all the dental calculus. 

Groomers and few veterinarians offer non-anesthetic teeth cleanings. We do not recommend these procedures since it is only aesthetic and does not improve a pet's oral health. Teeth roots cannot be evaluated during non-anesthetic cleaning. Removing tartar when pets are fully awake can also be uncomfortable and painful. I often find patients with bad breath who do not have dental calculus. Most of those patients have non-anesthetic cleanings which means that the outside of the teeth are clean but the inside can be very painful and infected. Doing non-anesthetic teeth cleaning is similar to painting a car without fixing the engine. 

What can happen if my pet does not get dental cleanings?

With time pets will accumulate dental calculus, have pain, bad breath and develop abscesses, fistulas, falling of teeth and even mandibular fractures. Tooth pain is usually chronic pain which makes most families not notice that their pets are uncomfortable. After extractions of these painful teeth pets are more comfortable and families notice an improvement in their appetite and even energy levels! 

How often do you recommend doing dental cleanings? 

The frequency of dental cleanings depends on the amount of dental calculus that your pet accumulates. Generally small breeds will have more dental calculus since their teeth are very large compared to the small size of their mouths. Many small dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers or French Poodles need annual dental cleanings. Cats suffer often from inflammation of their gums which improves with cleanings. Ask your veterinarian about the frequency that they recommend for dental cleanings for your pet. The best way to avoid dental cleanings is daily tooth brushing since they are young.


 

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Food

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