Before dental cleaning
After dental cleaning
Oral hygiene is just as important for our pets as it is for us. Proper dental care is one of the most important, and often ignored, preventative health measures for your pet. Home dental care coupled with periodic professional dental cleaning helps our pets live longer, happier lives.
What are some signs of dental disease?
If teeth are not kept clean, one of the first signs you will notice from your pet is bad breath, which is caused by gum disease, tartar or plaque accumulation. Bacteria and tartar build up under the edge of the gums and leads to gingivitis (gum infection), bad breath and eventually to tooth loss. In addition to the pain and discomfort associated with gingivitis, bacteria and toxins from the mouth are absorbed into the bloodstream and may damage the heart, kidneys and liver.
What can I do to help prevent dental disease?
It will take some time to train your pet to accept brushing, so start with gentle massaging of the outside surfaces of the gums and teeth with just your finger, then progress to a soft brush (like the C.E.T.® finger brush or a soft-bristled human toothbrush). Always use toothpaste made for dogs and cats (such as the C.E.T.® flavored pastes), as human toothpaste is not safe for pets to swallow.
Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line. With the mouth closed, lift the upper lip and brush the outside surfaces of the teeth in a circular pattern, being sure to massage the gums. If you sense the pet is anxious to the brushing procedure, give reassurance by talking and try again. Expect progress not perfection. Reward progress immediately with a treat, or a play period after each cleaning session. Take time. Each pet is different. Some will be trained in one week while others will take a month or more. The payoff is well worth the learning curve.
A lot of pet owners have trouble with their pet trying to lick or chew the toothpaste off the toothbrush during brushing. One trick that may help is to put a large dollop of toothpaste on the brush, then "boop" them on the top of the nose with it (where they can reach it with their tongue). Give them a few seconds to realize it's there and begin licking it off, while they are concentrated on that you have some time to get some teeth taken care of.
How often do I have to brush my pet's teeth?
Every single day. Just like a human, every other day or twice-weekly brushing is usually not enough to keep dental disease in check. The more often you can brush your pet's teeth and gums, the better for your pet, but regular professional dental cleanings are recommended to adequately clean below the gum line and in those hard-to-reach places. The frequency of professional dental cleanings your pet needs depends on your individual pet and your efforts at keeping the teeth clean.
If you simply cannot brush your pet's teeth, there are other options you can use to keep dental disease under control. There are enzyme-coated rawhide chews, an oral rinse, and special diets to try to reduce the mouth's bacterial population and help prevent or remove plaque. A wonderful product is OraVet - a gel that is applied to teeth weekly at home to prevent plaque and tartar accumulation. It creates an invisible barrier that prevents bacteria from attaching to your pet’s teeth, and it is safe, easy, and inexpensive. Go to www.oravet.com for more details!
What is involved in a professional dental cleaning?
A dental cleaning at Mayfair Animal Hospital includes a full oral examination, ultrasonic scaling of the teeth to remove tartar, subgingival cleaning, extraction of diseased or loose teeth, polishing and fluoride treatment. Professional dental cleaning for dogs and cats does mandate the use of general anesthesia for a thorough assessment and treatment with minimal discomfort for the patient. A preanesthetic blood panel is required for all patients, to screen for underlying health issues and to assist the doctor in determining the appropriate anesthetic medications. An Intravenous (IV) catheter is placed and fluids are also given to all patients during anesthesia as a supportive measure to help maintain blood pressure and to provide venous access in case it is needed. Pets receiving general anesthesia must be fasted for 12 hours prior to their scheduled dental cleaning (no food, but water is allowed). Your pet is admitted in the morning and will be discharged the same afternoon.
About our Dental Scaler: The iM3 42-12 Ultrasonic Scaler
Unlike other ultrasonic tooth scalers that use a 'jack‑hammer' approach to tooth scaling, the 42‑12 adopts a more gentle technique with its revolutionary removal of the plaque and calculus through its use of ultra high frequency sound, in much the same way as an ultrasonic water bath instrument cleaner. (The same way a jeweler cleans jewelry) The unique rotational tip movement removes the loosened plaque and calculus.