What’s Involved in a Dental Cleaning and Polishing?

Before we discuss dental care, I want to announce that this week is National Veterinary Technicians’ Week. This week, and every week, at PSVC we celebrate and appreciate all the dedication, skill and expertise, compassionate patient care, and informative client communication provided by our hard working Veterinary Technicians and Assistants. Veterinary Technicians Jean, Laurie, Sandy, Lisa, Diann, Mary, Megan, Bethany, Katelyn, Debi, and Assistants Aimee and Kelley are always available to assist you and answer many of your pet care questions.

Dental prophylaxis (cleaning and polishing) involves first examining the entire oral cavity under light anesthesia to assess the health of each tooth and to survey all the oral tissues for any abnormalities such as ulcers, excessive growth of gums called an epulus, gingivitis, deep infected pockets around the teeth that lead to erosion of bone, and tumors. In addition to the above, cats are also prone to severe gingivitis and an inflammatory condition of not just the surrounding gums, but also the tissues in the back of the throat called stomatitis. Cats can also develop erosions in the side of the teeth at the gum line that progressively destroy the enamel and dentin of the tooth. These are termed erosive neck lesions. The cause of the neck lesions has not been discovered, but these painful teeth cannot be saved and must be extracted before they break off.

Once the initial assessment is done, the heavy tartar is manually removed, followed by ultrasonic scaling to ensure all tooth surfaces are free of adhered tartar, both above and below the gum line. Any severely diseased teeth are extracted, often with the assistance of our high speed hand piece. We make every effort to save teeth, but pet dental disease has often been progressing for many years below the gum line dissolving the attachments of the dental ligaments and eroding bone of the tooth socket (periodontitis). Sometimes dental radiographs are employed to assess suspicious teeth and can help with decisions to extract. Then each tooth is polished using polishing paste and a low speed hand piece. Many of our dental patients have been started on antibiotics several days prior to dental prophylaxis to prevent oral bacteria from becoming established on the heart valves or in the major organs of the body.

Once the teeth are sparkling, the surface of the enamel is smooth, and the tissues are healthy and the breath is fresh, we encourage you to do simple, at-home dental care regularly. While some of the predisposition to dental tartar buildup is genetic, your participation in your pet’s dental care can prevent the rapid return of dental disease and delay the need for future cleanings.

Fall / Winter Dental Special

November is always the “kick-off” of our Fall / Winter Dental Special when we focus on dental care for your pets. We are now making appointments for dental cleaning and polishings.

You’ll receive a 10% discount on dental procedures. You’ll also receive the discount on the dental procedure portion when combined with other surgical procedures.

Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.

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