Byron Center Animal Hospital

Dental FAQ

Q: What is a dental cleaning?

A: A routine dental cleaning involves a thorough dental examination, followed by a dental scaling and polishing to remove the tartar and invisible plaque from all of the tooth surfaces. Tooth scaling is performed with a hand scaler and ultrasonic cleaning equipment to remove all tartar, both above and below the gum line. It is extremely important to remove the tartar below the gum line thoroughly to prevent gum recession. After scaling, the teeth are polished to remove any scratches. Scratches make it easier for plaque to build-up so they must be removed.

Q: What are the benefits of a dental cleaning?

A: A professional dental cleaning removes not only the visible plaque and tartar on the teeth surfaces but also the bacteria under the gums. This eliminates potential sources of infection to the mouth and other organs like the heart, kidneys and liver. This also protects your pet from unnecessary pain and tooth loss.

Q: I was unaware that my pet has dental problems. Is it common?

A: It is estimated that 85% of all pets have some stage of periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years old. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth and the main cause of early tooth loss.

Q: What is periodontal disease?

A: 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 causes gum recession around the base of the tooth. Infection soon follows and the gums recede further, exposing sensitive unprotected tooth root surfaces and the bony tooth sockets. If it is left untreated the infection spreads deep into the tooth socket, destroying the bone. Ultimately, the tooth loosens and falls out.

Q: How do I know if my pet needs a dental cleaning?

A: Regular inspection of your pet’s mouth is important to catch dental disease in the early stages. Tartar may appear as a brownish-gold build up on teeth, close to the gum line. Redness or bleeding along the gum line may indicate gingivitis. Other signs of dental disease include; bad breath, drooling, pawing at the mouth, difficulty chewing and loose or missing teeth.

Q: What can I do to keep my pet’s teeth clean?

A: After a dental cleaning has been performed there are a few things you can do to help lengthen the time between dental cleanings. We recommend using OraVet plaque prevention weekly after a dental cleaning. This product will adhere to your pet’s teeth and create a barrier that prevents plaque from forming. You can also brush your pet’s teeth daily using special toothpaste that is designed for pet use. There are also some special chews and treats that may help reduce or delay tartar build-up. You can also purchase a prescription pet food that has been formulated to assist in plaque removal.