By Erica Morton, DVM – Jan 23rd, 2020
Once tartar and plaque build-up on the teeth, the ONLY thing that will remove it is a dental cleaning.
For animals, dental cleanings need to be done under general anesthesia. Once asleep, we perform a full exam by probing the gum line to look for pockets, and full mouth x-rays to determine the extent of periodontal disease- which often includes bone loss. The teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler, and polishing is done to smooth the teeth after scaling.
When the bacteria on the teeth builds up, it creeps up the gumline and erodes away the bone surrounding the roots. With enough bone loss, the tooth then becomes mobile and should be extracted. This is done to remove the source of infection, as it can spread to the surrounding teeth, creating the need for even more extractions.
Once all teeth that need to be extracted are gone, and the tartar and plaque are gone, then the real work begins with home dental care at home to prevent tartar and plaque build-up. When you have a clean slate to work with, adequate tooth brushing or Oravet chews daily or every other day can help prevent tartar and plaque from building up, making it less likely that another dental cleaning will need to be done.