What’s Involved in a Dental Cleaning

It’s that time of year when we focus on healthy teeth and gums for the pets of all our family of clients. To highlight our annual winter dental procedure discount, I’ll discuss the many steps involved in a thorough dental prophy procedure.

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 called 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 and calculus are manually removed, followed by ultrasonic scaling to ensure all tooth surfaces are free of adhered calculus, both above and below the gum line. Any severely diseased teeth are extracted, often with the assistance of our high speed dental 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. We now offer digital dental radiographs to assess suspicious teeth and this guides us when making decisions to extract teeth. Then each tooth is polished using polishing paste and a low speed dental 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, 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.

During The Winter Months Of November Through February, We Offer A 10% Discsount On Your Pet’s Dental Care. Call Our Receptionists Today To Set Up An Appointment.


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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