Pets have teeth too! At Basic Pet Care, we offer treatment for all pets including ultrasonic scaling and polishing. Preventative dental care is just as important and we offer a range of products, from tooth paste and dental chews to diets and vaccines which are designed to help keep teeth clean.
During the yearly examination, we will pay very close attention to your pet’s teeth, and most dogs and cats will tolerate this quite well. Any build up of plaque on the teeth will be demonstrated, as will simple brushing techniques to reduce the speed at which it accumulates. Most of the time, it will be possible to scale some of the tartar build up off of the teeth.
Cats build up tartar on their teeth at a predictable rate, and after the age of 2, there is always going to be a significant level of build up within 12 months. If it is left there, then many cats be the age of 8-10 will have formed cavities underneath the plaque that leads to painful and persistent tooth and gum disease. Once this happens, the teeth will need to be extracted under full general anesthesia. To try to avoid this outcome, cat’s teeth can be scaled every year using a dental instrument, as part of the yearly examination. Most cats tolerate this surprisingly well, with a minimum of restraint. The plaque cracks off fairly easily, exposing the underlying tooth and gums. Sometimes, this reveals a cavity or a loose tooth, and then we know that dentistry under general anesthesia is to be recommended in this patient. When we clean the teeth in this way every year, we can easily see an enormous difference between the teeth of a 12 year old cat we have seen every year, and one that we have never seen before.
Dogs are more variable in the rate at which they build up dental tartar. Little dogs build up a lot of tartar every year, large dogs, not so much. With dogs, the tartar is much harder to scale off the teeth than in cats, they have many more teeth, and the awake dog tends not to tolerate more than a few teeth being scraped at any one time. Therefore, it is only practical to scale the teeth as part of the office exam if there are only a few teeth with a build up, and the dog doesn’t mind. In-office dental scaling is not a substitute for a full general dental prophy under anesthesia in dogs with tartar build up on all their teeth. However, it beneficial for dogs that don’t need a full general prophy, but have a few teeth with tartar that is beginning to push against the gums.