The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Plaque build-up is often first seen around 2 years of age on most pets. If plaque is allowed to remain on the surface of the tooth, it will eventually turn into calculus – a hard, cement-like material that plays a significant role in the development of gingivitis. Once formed, calculus is too hard and firmly attached to be removed with brushing alone.
Dental disease doesn’t affect just the mouth, either. Your pet can suffer serious consequences from having poor dental hygiene. Heart, lung, and kidney disease can be associated with long term dental disease.
That is one dirty mouth! This poor dog will feel much better once we clean his teeth!
The Cleaning Process
To achieve a thorough cleaning, your pet will need to be under general anesthesia. This allows us to clean your pet’s teeth in places we would not be able to reach if your pet was awake. After your pet has been sedated, a technician will use an ultrasonic scaler (just like a human dentist would do) to remove any plaque or calculus build-up. Sometimes, if the calculus build-up is too thick, it can be gently chipped off with a pair of extracting forceps. It is important not to clean just the surface of the tooth, but in between teeth and up along the gumline as well.
After all the plaque and calculus have been removed, the dental technician will use an air-powered rotating polishing cup and prophy polishing paste to gently polish the surface of the tooth. This polishing procedure is important in removing any scratches to the enamel done by the cleaning process and also to seal the surface of the tooth and help prevent future staining and plaque build-up.