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Keep your dog’s teeth clean

Professional Cleanings (The Dental):

To eliminate the plaque from the inside surfaces of the mouth, go to your veterinarian periodically to have your dog’s teeth cleaned professionally. Depending on the individual dog, professional tooth cleaning is recommended every one to three years. Your veterinarian is a trained pet dentist, using the same tools your dentist does to clean your teeth.

This cleaning, which takes place under general anesthesia because dogs are no fonder of a visit to the dentist than their owners, consists of scaling to remove tartar above and below the gum line; polishing to smooth the surface of the teeth; and flushing to dislodge tartar and bacteria. If any loose teeth are found during the process, they will be pulled.

Thanks to advancements in recent years, anesthesia risks have lowered greatly. Even the extremely old dog can often be anesthetized with little concern. While the dog is under, a tube will be placed into his trachea to allow breathing. This tube has an inflatable cuff on it that keeps the water needed for flushing during the procedure from going into the lungs. After the tube is in place, the doctor will begin scraping the tartar and plaque off with both an electric machine as well as hand held dental instruments.

Any excessively loose teeth will be removed and the doctor will often us a red stain to make sure all the plaque has been gotten rid of. Once these things have been done, an abrasive dental paste will be applied with a machine that has a rotating head. This paste polishes the teeth and will smooth scratches so plaque won’t have as many places to adhere to.

It is usual procedure to send the dog home that day with instructions for follow up and preventative care given to the owner. Preventative care includes a small soft toothbrush, oral paste or gel and often an antibacterial rinse. If the infection was really severe, oral antibiotics will also be sent home with the dog.

Your veterinarian can advise how frequently your dog requires a dental and set up an appropriate schedule for your dog. Even dogs from the same litter, who eat the same food and have the exact same environment may have very different dental needs.

The charges consist of the time and skill involved, and the cost of anesthesia which is based on weight. If your pet’s teeth have not received regular care, and need extra treatment including removal, the cost may be more. You may want to schedule other care that may require anesthesia at the same time.


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