February is the perfect time to think about the health of your dog or cat’s teeth and gums! It’s Pet Dental Health Month, designed to raise awareness about the importance of preventive dental health care for pets. May vets will offer special discounts on dentals in February, so it’s a good time to bring in your best friend for a professional cleaning...in addition to the regular at-home tooth brushing you do every week, of course!
Many pet owners are confused about what exactly a “dental” is, and why their dog or cat has go under anesthesia for a dental to be performed. Here’s a rundown of some common dental procedures, courtesy of the American Animal Hospital Association:
Oral exams: Vets can perform basic oral examinations of your pet’s teeth and gums while your pet is awake. They look for things like plaque and tartar, missing teeth, gum disease, and tumors.
Dental cleanings: The AAHA recommends annual dental cleanings under anesthesia for all adult dogs and cats. Before the procedure your vet will do a pre-anesthesia exam to make sure your pet is good to go. Your pet’s vitals will be monitored while he or she is under anesthesia.
Your pet’s teeth will be scaled and polished during a dental. Scaling is the removal of plaque from the teeth using dental instruments. Polishing can help remove scratches from the surface of the teeth. Vets can also apply sealants to your pet’s teeth to help strengthen the teeth and prevent plaque formation.
X-rays: Sometimes a dog or cat will need dental x-rays to evaluate overall oral health and see things that can’t be detected in a regular exam. Pets with advanced tooth and gum problems will need x-rays before tooth removal.
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