Regular examination, a good diet and home dental care are the fundamentals of good tooth and gum care. But sometimes this just isn’t enough. To give your pet’s teeth a clean start, they may need to be scaled and polished. Here is what’s involved.
Antibiotics will often be prescribed, to kill the plaque bacteria immediately before, during and after the clean. Anti-inflammatories and pain-relievers are also given where necessary.
Anaesthesia is required to properly clean and polish your pet’s teeth. Anaesthesia is very safe and all animals are examined and assessed first. All patients have a tube placed in their throat that administers medical oxygen and anaesthetic gases throughout the procedure. Older and high-risk patients are offered blood and urine tests and the use of alternative drugs to ensure their safety. Please talk to one of our vets for more details.
Scaling of the plaque from the tooth is done with an ultrasonic scaler that vibrates and breaks up the tartar without damage to the tooth. All tooth surfaces are carefully scaled, both inside and out.
After mechanical scaling is complete, hand scalers are used to complete the removal of plaque and tartar from below the gum line. This is termed root planing and subgingival curettage.
Polishing. After scaling, the tooth can still have a rough surface that allows the re-attachment of plaque. We have a variable speed dental polishing unit and use polishing paste that can restore a smooth healthy surface to the teeth, both above and below the gum line.
Extractions are often required where the tooth cannot be saved. Before any extractions are undertaken, a set of full mouth digital dental x-rays are generally taken to enable the surgeon to see exactly what is going on under the gum margin. The tooth may be broken, the roots may be rotten, the enamel may be too badly eroded, or the gums, bones and other supporting structures may be too far gone to continue to support the tooth. We are equipped with professional equipment including high-speed dental cutting burrs, elevators, forceps and root picks for such procedures.
Occasionally, whether to extract a tooth or try to save it may even be influenced by the owner’s ability or willingness to keep the teeth and gums clean at home. Where brushing at home is not possible, it may be better to extract a tooth to ensure the health of the rest of the mouth.
Other procedures include endodontics, root canal
treatments, etc. We can discuss these more advanced procedures and
arrange a referral if necessary.
Dental records are kept concerning the procedures performed, any teeth extracted, and any other abnormalities that are noted at the time. A re-check will generally be scheduled in 3 – 12 months, depending on our examination findings.
If you have any other questions about tooth and gum care, please call us. Or make an appointment to bring your pet in, and we can examine their mouth and work out the most appropriate solution for your pet’s problem(s).