A thorough dental exam can identify potential problems such as plaque & tartar build-up, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and fractured or abscessed teeth.
During an oral exam we will:
- Examine your pet’s face and head for asymmetry, swelling, and/or discharges.
- Examine the outside surfaces of teeth and gums, and the “bite”.
- Open the mouth to examine the inner surfaces of the teeth & gums & the tongue, palates, oral mucosa, tonsils, and ventral tongue area.
- Palpate and assess the size, shape, and consistency of the salivary glands and the lymph nodes in the neck.
To prevent dental disease, your pet needs routine dental care at home. But to perform good home care, you need to start with clean teeth. Brushing will remove plaque but not tartar. If your pet’s teeth have tartar, it is necessary for your veterinarian to remove it and polish the teeth. This professional veterinary dental cleaning is often called a prophylaxis or “prophy.”
A routine dental cleaning consists of:
- A dental exam
- Anesthetizing your pet.
- Flushing the mouth with a solution to kill the bacteria.
- Cleaning the teeth with handheld and ultrasonic scalers. All calculus is removed from above and below the gum line. This is extremely important and can only be done if the animal is under anesthesia.
- Using a disclosing solution to show any areas of remaining calculus which are then removed.
- Polishing the teeth to remove microscopic scratches.
- Inspecting each tooth and the gum around it for any signs of disease.
- Flushing the mouth, again, with an antibacterial solution.
- Recording any abnormalities on a dental chart.
- Determining the best follow-up and home dental care program for your pet.