As recently as a generation ago, dental care for pets would have sounded absurd. The thought of buying pet-specific toothpaste and brushing Fluffy or Fido’s teeth on a regular basis would have seemed absolutely ridiculous.
Nowadays, we understand better than ever the importance of good dental care for pets. Dental disease (something most pets show signs of by age 3) can wreak havoc on a dog or cat’s health if left unattended. Good home dental care and a pet dental exam every year are necessary in order to keep your pet’s mouth, and overall health, in tiptop shape.
The Pet Dental Exam
Your pet’s dental examination will begin the way most other visits do, with a thorough medical history. Your veterinarian will then look at and feel your pet’s head and neck, checking for areas of swelling, lumps, pain, or any other abnormalities. An oral exam will then be performed to check for bad breath (one of the signs of dental disease in pets) and to assess the condition of the gums and teeth.
In order to be truly effective, a full pet dental exam and cleaning must be performed under anesthesia. Many pet parents are understandably concerned about the use of anesthesia on their pets, but we assure you that the sedation is safe and will allow us to thoroughly examine, clean, and treat your pet’s teeth.
While your pet is under sedation, his or her dental exam and cleaning closely resemble a standard human dentist appointment in the following ways:
- Check all surfaces of the teeth
- Check for periodontal pockets around the teeth
- Digital X-rays are taken
- Dental scaling to remove plaque and tartar above and below the gum line
- Smoothing and polishing of the teeth
If your veterinarian has identified one or more problem areas of your pet’s mouth, he or she will discuss the necessary treatments and help you come up with a plan for your pet’s continued dental care.
Most pets are able to go home immediately after a dental exam and cleaning procedure, and can resume eating and drinking as usual. We will schedule a complimentary follow-up exam to check on your pet and discuss tooth brushing, dietary choices, and other aspects of preventive home dental care.
Making a Commitment
Your pet’s continued oral health depends on consistent home care and regular dental examinations and cleanings. Your team at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center is here for you every step of the way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions, or to schedule an appointment for your pet.