Like humans, pets need to have their teeth cleaned to maintain optimum oral health. At North Shore Animal League America’s Pet Health Centers, we have an in-house team of dental professionals who can provide your pet with comprehensive dental and periodontal cleaning that will remove plaque and tarter and eliminate any diseased periodontal tissue.
What is Involved in Pet Dental Cleaning?
Before your pet undergoes a dental cleaning, scaling and polishing, a veterinarian will perform a thorough dental exam as well as pre-anesthetic blood tests to ensure that your pet’s kidney and liver functions are suitable for anesthesia. Anesthesia is necessary to help keep your pet comfortable while her teeth are being cleaned.
Once your pet is anesthetized, the veterinarian will examine the mouth, making note of any abnormalities. A dental probe will be used to check for gum bleeding and the periodontal pockets where food can sometimes accumulate and decay.
If it is discovered that your pet has advanced periodontal disease, the badly affected teeth may need to be extracted. Ultrasonic scalers are used to remove plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. After the teeth have been cleaned and scaled, they will be polished to remove microscopic scratches on the surface of the teeth. This helps decrease the rate of subsequent plaque build-up.
Can I Clean My Pet’s Teeth with Human Toothpaste?
Toothpaste that is designed for human teeth should never be used in animals. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that are not intended to be swallowed that can actually cause internal problems if they are. Likewise, you should avoid using baking soda to clean your pet’s teeth because it has a high alkaline content and, if swallowed, it can upset the acid balance in your pet’s stomach and digestive tract.
Pet toothpaste is non-foaming and safe for your pet to swallow. And they are made using flavorings that appeal to animals, which helps make brushing your pet’s teeth more enjoyable for them. But, even with regular cleanings, you should still have your pet seen by a veterinarian at least once a year to ensure her oral health is as good as it can be. Because so many health complications stem from bad oral health, dental care should be a regular part of your pet’s health and wellness regimen.
Veterinary pet teeth cleaning, scaling and polishing is done by appointment. If your pet is due for a routine dental exam or cleaning, schedule an appointment today at the North Shore Animal League America’s Pet Health Center.