At Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic, we believe good oral health is crucial to your pet’s overall wellbeing! Dental disease and broken teeth can lead to substantial pain and discomfort for your pet as well as be a significant source of infection in the body. We have a top of the line dental unit for effectively yet gently cleaning your pet’s teeth and under the gum line. It uses a high frequency ultrasonic scaler to thoroughly remove plaque and tarter without damaging the tooth’s enamel. When teeth are broken or diseased beyond repair, we can remove them with minimal trauma to the surrounding tissues. We can even perform a root canal if needed!

Since dental some degree of dental disease is evident in almost all pets by the age of three years, we frequently recommend a Dental Prophy or Dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar. Below are some frequently asked questions about dental cleaning:

Why does my pet need an anesthetic to have their teeth cleaned?

When cleaning your pet’s teeth we use an ultra-sonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar both on the surface of the tooth and beneath the gum line. Each tooth is examined individually for signs of trauma, wear, decay and periodontal disease. A probe is used to measure the depth of the pocket formed between the tooth and the gum line. The teeth are then polished using the same type of instrument as your own dentist likely uses on you. The polishing is very important to remove tiny scratches and imperfections in the enamel of the tooth which might otherwise make the tooth more susceptible to accumulating plaque and tartar in the future. At Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic we feel strongly that general anesthesia is necessary to do a thorough cleaning and examination of the teeth.

I’m worried about my pet having an anesthetic.

All pets require a complete physical examination prior to receiving an anesthetic. Pre-Anesthetic Blood Screening is a good idea for any pet and it is mandatory for all pets over the age of 7. Pets with other health problems or very advanced age may require additional diagnostics such as further blood work, x-rays, ultrasound or an electrocardiogram. Older pets are usually put on intravenous fluids for the procedure. The Veterinarian will advise you as to what will best for your pet. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask.

How long does it take for a “Prophy”

Any preanesthetic blood screens or diagnostic tests will need to be completed a few days before the dental procedure. The day of the prophy, your pet will need to be admitted between 8:00-8:30 a.m. He or she will be weighed, examined and given a mild sedative to help them relax. They will have the procedure done in the morning and then spend the afternoon in recovery. Most pets will be ready to go home by mid to late afternoon. Pets having large or multiple extractions will likely be kept in hospital over night and will go home the following morning.

Is a Dental Prophy really necessary for my pet? What will happen if I don’t have it done?

Supplementary dental aids such as “Dental Diets”, treats, chews and brushing only work to prevent further plaque and tartar accumulation, they do not remove existing tartar. A dental prophy is the only way to do this. Supplementary aids will work much better if the teeth are clean to start with. Left untreated, dental plaque and tartar accumulation usually progresses to gingivitis and periodontal disease resulting in pain and tooth loss (not to mention bad breath!) for your pet. Periodontal disease can be a significant source of infection in the body and spread to other areas such as the heart and kidneys leading to serious complications.

Click for additional information on Dental Care.