My Veterinarian Has Recommended a Dental Cleaning. What is Involved?

The first step is to place the patient under general anesthesia. It is impossible to do a thorough cleaning and definitive oral examination on a pet that is awake.

Anesthesia-free dentistry is NOT recommended. In anesthesia-free dentistry, the trachea (windpipe), and therefore the lungs, are not protected from the particles generated during a dental cleaning. These particles are full of bacteria and, if inhaled, can result in pneumonia. The other difference between anesthesia and sedation is the length of effect. We use relatively short-acting medications, and a gas to keep the patient under anesthesia. If a problem occurs under anesthesia, we can turn off the gas and the patient will recover quickly. Under sedation, the effects generally do not go away until the drug is cleared from the system, which can take a long time. General anesthesia is very safe today, thanks to advances in anesthetic drugs, our training and monitoring equipment.

When we do a dental descale and polishing on your pet the following procedures are done:

  • We remove the plaque and calculus above the gum line
  • We thoroughly clean the areas under the gum line to remove disease-causing bacteria. It is performed by hand and is time consuming, but it is the most important step
  • We polish the teeth to help prevent plaque attaching again
  • With the patient under anesthesia, the mouth is thoroughly and systematically examined, and all findings are noted on a dental chart. Any diseased teeth or tissues are then properly treated.