Why should my pet have a dental prophy?
Professional dental cleanings are performed to help prevent or aid in controlling dental disease. The only way to correctly perform a professional dental cleaning is with the use of a general anesthetic. Hand scaling or surface cleaning of the teeth in an awake dog or cat only removes the calculus above the gum line. While this may improve the appearance of the teeth, this does very little to control periodontal disease, which by nature forms below the gum line, leading to further disease and deterioration of the teeth and their surrounding structures.
What is the actual process of a complete professional dental cleaning?
Step 1: Removal of gross calculus and plaque above the gum line
This is done using hand instruments to chip the tartar off, such as an ultrasonic scaler and a hand scaler
Step 2: Removal of calculus below the gum line
This is done using a hand instrument called a curette
Step 3: Detection of Missed Plaque and Calculus
This is done using a dental explorer, disclosing solution or by air drying
With the dental explorer, you can actually feel rough surfaces on the teeth, with disclosing solution, plaque and tartar with change color, and by air drying the missed plaque or tartar turn white
Step 4: Periodontal Probing and Exploring
This is an important diagnostic technique. The probe is used to measure pocket depths and the explorer is used to detect irregularities or defects on the tooth surface. These are then recorded on your pets dental chart, which aid in determining the proposed treatment plan.
Step 5: Polishing
Polishing is necessary because any type of scaling causes defects in the enamel surface of the tooth. Polishing will smooth out the enamel surface and help slow the readherance of plaque and calculus.
Signs of Periodontal disease
Plaque and calculus deposition
Re, swollen or bleeding gums
Ulcers on the gums or oral cavity
Loss of bone around teeth
What is dental plaque?
It is a soft material consisting largely of bacteria. Plaque attaches to a coating on the tooth called the pellicle. This pellicle is made up of salivary glycoprotein’s, which reappears within hours after a thorough dental cleaning.
What is dental calculus or tartar?
It is a hard deposit found on teeth. It results from calcification of dental plaque by deposition of calcium compounds found in saliva. This calcification can occur as early as 3 days after a thorough dental cleaning and can occur at any age. Calculus contributes to periodontal disease by providing a rough surface that harbors plaque.