National Pet Dental Health Month: Why Professional Teeth Cleanings Are Important

By February 6, 2017Blog

Your pet is a very important part of your family, and as such you want to ensure that they always received the absolute best care. This certainly includes food, water, and regular physical check-ups, but it also must include professional teeth cleanings and good oral hygiene.

The Importance of Professional Teeth Cleanings

Perhaps you make the effort to clean your pet’s teeth on a regular basis, in which case you may wonder why you would still need to bother with professional teeth cleanings. No matter how diligent we are about keeping our pet’s oral hygiene, we simply lack the tools and know-how necessary to clean them on the deep level that is necessary to remove plaque and tartar, which can build up and cause extensive health issues. Furthermore, professional teeth cleanings can provide the veterinarian with the opportunity to assess your pet’s oral health.

Pets who suffer from untreated dental disease are usually in a lot of discomfort and pain; they may even suffer from permanent tooth and gum loss. Unfortunately, pets are unable to communicate to their owners about this discomfort or pain, and by the time owners figure out something is terribly wrong, it’s usually quite an extensive problem.

Pets should receive professional teeth cleaning about once a year unless they have an oral issue that requires more frequent care. Since professional teeth cleaning requires placing your pet under anesthesia, your veterinarian will first perform some bloodwork in order to ensure that your pet is in good health. In some instances, the veterinarian may need to take x-rays to better understand your pet’s oral condition and to treat it accordingly. While closely monitoring your pet’s vital signs to ensure they are doing well, the veterinary team will clean and polish your pet’s teeth, removing tartar and plaque build-up as necessary. Once your pet’s teeth cleaning is complete, your veterinarian will ensure they are carefully brought out of anesthesia and are adequately recovered before going home. There will often be very specific home care instructions for you to follow to help ensure your pet continues to recover comfortably.

Here at Animal Medical Center, we frequently order antibiotics to be started 3 days prior to a dental cleaning and continue the prescription post procedure.  We are proactive about patient pain; if we feel that pain is going to be an issue with your pet, we will prescribe medications to help alleviate their pain. Calculus and tartar harbor bacteria which leads to gingivitis (an infection of the gums). During a dental cleaning procedure, it is common to have gingival bleeding.  Antibiotics help reduce the risk of bacteria showering into the bloodstream.

While neither you nor your pet may eagerly anticipate the professional teeth cleaning process, you will both undoubtedly enjoy the wonderful benefits of good oral hygiene and health.

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