Does your pet have bad breath and yucky teeth? We're here to help! Today we're going to talk about the ways we can help your pet to have great dental health after a couple missed opportunities to brush those teeth!
Why Does My Pet Need Anesthesia For Dental Cleaning?
So first thing that is different than a lot of human dentists is we do have to put animals under general anesthetic when we clean their teeth. The purpose of doing that is it allows us to gain control of that animal's airway, specifically when we put a tray tube in it is a cuff tray tube. That way, as they're unconscious and there's a lot of water that's being sprayed when we're doing this procedure, it allows us to seal off that airway so they can't aspirate anything. That's number one. Number two, for obvious reasons, we don't want the animal jumping around. I mean it's hard enough to have a dog sit still while we look at their teeth, much less scale, polish, clean under the gum line...it just won't happen.
What is an Ultrasonic Scaler and What Does it Do?
Once they are under anesthesia, we use this machine here, this is all the bells and whistles, really is what it is. So we have an ultrasonic scaler that is not on right now, but this is an ultrasonic scaler here. It vibrates incredibly fast and sprays water at the same time to keep the surface of the tooth cool. This is so we don't cause any damage when we're cleaning. This is usually one of the first things that we do. That or, if necessary, we can use a variety of these hand scalers here if we have some really stubborn tartar or calculus that has to come off. We will typically use some of these hand scalers to get the majority of it off first and then we will follow with the ultrasonic scaler.
What Other Tools Are Used in Pet Dental Cleaning?
Once that happens, you can see some of these other instruments here. This is a high-speed cutting tool if we have to use it. This is a small bur that's on right now. We have cutting utensils that go with it, so if we'd have to extract a tooth that allows us to cut it into sections before we do. So a lot of details I won't touch upon there, but that's a really, really nifty tool there. This is just water and air if we need to see what we're doing a bit better. And then the final step is a polishing head here. So what we use is a little, this is called a prophy cup and it's filled with a polishing paste inside of it. We fill this entire cup with the polishing paste there and once the machine is on, we polish the surface of every single tooth after it's been cleaned.
Why is Polishing Such an Important Part of Pet Dental Cleaning?
A lot of people don't realize it, but the polishing is arguably one of the more important parts of the cleaning. Because if you don't do that with the hand scalers and especially the ultrasonic, you can actually cause little micro-abrasions on the surface of the tooth. And if you don't polish that back to a smooth surface again, that actually gives bacteria a foothold to grab onto that tooth and set up shop and just start the process all over again. So polishing is a really, really important step when we're doing dental cleaning. That's really about it. That's kind of the ins and outs of it. And again, once that cleaning is done, I would refer back to some of these other preventative products we talked about in previous talks. Brushing, Oravet chews, TD diet. All of these things are going to prevent the tartar from re-accumulating and having to do this all that often.
How Often Do Pets Need Their Teeth Cleaned?
There's not a black and white answer to that question. It depends on your dog. It depends on their diet. How much do they chew? Do they get chew toys often? Do you do some of these measures? Do you just never ever look at their teeth and rely on us to do it? There are some animals that need their teeth cleaned every five to six months. There are some that once a year it's necessary and there are some that have it once or twice in their lifetime and their teeth do just fine. So it varies a lot. But I do encourage you to do whatever preventative measures that you can to ensure that their teeth stay healthy as long as possible.
So that is kind of it in a nutshell, guys. If you have any questions, reach out to us at the office. I can answer any questions you may have! Take care and have a great day!
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