For many humans, dental decay and damage is an unavoidable part of life despite our best attempts to keep our teeth clean and healthy. However, our pet’s teeth can be just as prone to plaque, tartar and gum disease as our own and the majority of dogs and cats experience mild to moderate dental problems that require professional intervention by just three years of age.
While there are special toothbrushes and pastes available so that responsible owners can try and regularly brush their pet’s teeth, performing a truly deep, effective clean requires the tools, skill, and experience of a professional.
The importance of professional dental cleanings
As much as our pets may love and adore us, they aren’t always great at following instructions! After all, why would your dog or cat want to sit still with their mouth open so you can clean their teeth when there are so many games to play and so much affection to share?
While the home brushing you perform will almost certainly remove the bulk of the debris and bacteria in your pet’s mouth, only a professional clean while your pet is asleep under a general anesthetic will guarantee the complete eradication of all decay-causing nasties.
When plaque becomes tartar, it is even harder to remove than normal, usually requiring professional equipment. However, left untreated, tartar can penetrate below the gum line, causing infection and a range of more serious dental problems. A professional dental clean is a perfect time to remove any tartar build up and protect your furry friend from future dental problems.
Is anesthesia required for professional pet teeth cleaning?
There has been some controversy regarding the use of anesthesia in dog and cat teeth cleaning procedures. However, the vast majority of veterinarians believe that using anesthesia is a much safer and efficient way of performing a professional dental clean for your pet.
Anesthesia makes pet dental cleanings safer in several different ways. Firstly, it keeps your pet still for the duration of the cleaning. This is important as sudden movements could cause your vet to accidentally catch the inside of your pet’s mouth which could cause them to suffer an injury.
Anesthesia also makes the procedure safer for your veterinary dentist. Pets that are scared or anxious may lash out at the space around them, which could include the humans helping to perform the cleaning. Anesthetizing your pet will eliminate this risk.
Pet dental cleanings that are performed while your pet is awake are well known for being hurried and as a result, substandard. This is because it is simply impossible for a dog or cat to hold their mouth open long enough for a veterinary dentist to undertake a very thorough cleaning. Using anesthesia means that your professional has all the time they need to ensure they reach every corner and crevice of your pet’s teeth and gums.
Our pets don’t have the same ability to understand as we do, and as a result, they can easily become stressed. Dogs and cats who are exposed to high levels of stress can find that their ordinary behavior changes – and not in a good way. Pets have been known to exhibit fear and even aggression after experiencing stressful circumstances.
Whether it be for emergency treatment or regular check-ups, visiting your vet is an essential part of your pet’s life and so ideally it should be as stress-free as possible. Ensuring that your pet is fast asleep during teeth cleaning appointments will help your pet maintain a positive association with your veterinarian’s office and make every visit a calm, relaxed one.
Annual professional teeth cleaning appointment should be a regular part of your pet’s dental care. Call us and arrange your furry companion’s appointment today.