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Dog Teeth Cleaning: How It’s Done & Why It’s Needed

Ever wondered about whether a professional teeth cleaning is worth it for your dog? In this post, our Charlotte vets share how it’s done, and why you should do it.

Why should I have my dog's teeth cleaned?

Just like humans, dental health accounts for a large part of your dog’s overall health. Many dogs begin to show signs of periodontal disease within their first few years, which can have grave negative consequences for their physical health and wellbeing. 

There are very real implications for overall health - periodontal disease can lead to heart disease (after the bacteria enters the bloodstream from the mouth) and damage to other organs.

While an at-home regular oral care routine paired with dental treats can help control the buildup of plaque and tartar, the best way to maintain your dog’s clean and healthy mouth is to visit the vet to have their teeth professionally cleaned. 

Pug with mouth open

What happens during a professional teeth cleaning?

We recommend bringing your dog in for a dental appointment at least once each year - more frequently if they are prone to dental problems.

Your veterinarian can perform an exam and look for symptoms of dental trouble, such as:

  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Bleeding, pain or swelling in or around the mouth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Bad breath

Without this annual routine cleaning, plaque forms on the teeth and causes gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe forms, tooth loss. You should tell your vet if you’ve noticed any symptoms such as reduced appetite (which could indicate tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth or other symptoms.

We assess all pets to ensure they are healthy enough to have anesthesia, then conduct additional diagnostics if required. Once your pet is safely anesthetized, we perform a full oral exam (tooth-by-tooth) and charting.

While we have your pet safely under anesthesia, we clean and polish their teeth, and under the gum line. We probe and radiograph each tooth, then use a fluoride treatment before applying a dental sealant to fight plaque. If advanced periodontal disease is found, we develop a treatment plan and discuss it with you.

How can I keep plaque off my dog’s teeth?

You have an important role to play in helping your pet fight dental disease. We recommend these methods for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy:

  • Use a finger brush from your vet or a child’s toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth daily and remove any plaque or debris.
  • Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Give treats, dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.

Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Make sure to book your annual appointment if it is on your to-do list - your dog will thank you. 

Is your dog due for an annual dental appointment? Our Charlotte vets can check your pet's health to ensure his teeth are in good condition. Contact us today.

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Providence Animal Hospital has been providing comprehensive veterinary care for your cherished pets in Charlotte since 1993.

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