Arlington Animal Hospital

1126 Cesery Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32211


Why Dental Cleanings are Important



Is your dog or cat's bad breath getting you down? We have the solution! The truth is, while the smell coming from your pet’s mouth can be very offensive, what is actually lurking below the gum line is the most dangerous part. Periodontal disease is the plaque-induced inflammation and infection of the gingiva, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone, all the parts that keep the teeth in the mouth where they belong. Bacteria and plaque are normally found in the mouth in small numbers, however when this early soft plaque is not brushed away daily, it hardens and becomes known as calculus. This calculus continues to build on the surface of the teeth and eventually begins to work its way under the gum line. Once under the gum line the bacteria-laden calculus begins to eat away at the gum tissue, ligament, and bone surrounding the tooth. This is a painful process, and as it progresses the tooth becomes loose, causing even more pain and discomfort. Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats.  By three years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease.

Signs of oral and dental diseases in dogs and cats include bad breath, loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar, your pet shies away from you when you touch the mouth area, bleeding from the mouth, drooling or dropping food from the mouth, loss of appetite or weight loss (this combination can result from diseases of many organs and early veterinary examination is important). So you have noticed that bad breath or even a few of these other signs? What can we do? To accurately investigate, diagnose, and treat periodontal disease, a complete oral exam, dental scaling and polishing under general anesthesia is required. While anesthesia may seem scary, remember, dental disease is painful and your pup or kitty will not allow a full exam or cleaning to be done while awake.

Just like any other anesthetic procedure, it is vital that your pet be healthy before beginning so a comprehensive physical exam and pre-anesthetic blood testing will be performed prior to the procedure.

While asleep, all teeth will be assessed for gum recession, pocketing around teeth, fractures, mobility, and oral tumors. Many times, teeth have undergone too much destruction of gum tissue and bone and those teeth cannot be saved and will need to be extracted. Your pet will receive ample pain medication and antibiotics as needed. All remaining teeth are ultrasonically scaled to remove calculus and polished to remove staining and smooth the surface of the teeth. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis. You drop your pet off in the morning and pick them up in the evening the same day.

Routine dental cleanings without extractions will have no changes to diet or any aftercare for you to worry about. If extractions are performed we will go over any necessary changes to diet and medications that need to be given. This will only be for a short period of time after the procedure.

So is all of this sounding scary and probably expensive? Multiple extractions can get expensive, but if your pet is suffering from periodontal disease it is the only treatment to alleviate their existing pain, and ensure that they continue to live happy, healthy lives. The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable! Daily tooth brushing is proven to eliminate the soft plaque buildup on the teeth before it hardens to become calculus. Think about it, if you didn’t brush your teeth for the next 5-10 years, what would your mouth look or smell like? It’s the same for your pets! There are also many products on the market that have embedded enzymes and encourage chewing to help remove calculus and plaque buildup. The best ones have been awarded a seal by the VOHC, or Veterinary Oral Health Council; their seal will be on the package.

So don’t let that bad breath get in the way of all of your Valentine’s Day kisses! Bring your pet in for an exam to determine if the time is right for that dental cleaning!

Receive $50 off of a dental cleaning during the month of September 2020! *

Thanks for reading!

*medications, or other testing are additional and not subject to discount.