Cleaning A Canine's Canines: How It's Done
You already know how important it is to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy. It would be the same for any pet you own. If you are squeamish about brushing your dog's teeth, or your dog is just not very cooperative, you will have to take him/her to a veterinarian for a dog dental cleaning. A pet prophylaxis is a little more in-depth than brushing teeth, so you may want to prepare yourself with the following information.
A General Brushing
Before the vet can see what is going on with your dog's teeth, the teeth are brushed. It is generally recommended that you not allow your dog to eat anything for a few hours prior to the appointment just to avoid the possibility of a sensitive gag reflex and extra bits of food stuck in your dog's teeth. He or she may have water, as your dog will need to stay hydrated for the procedure. (With uncooperative pets like your dog, a light general anesthesia is give to keep the dog calm during the entire process.)
This is something that most pet owners are unable to do, especially with uncooperative pets. At best, you may be able to brush a few of your dog's teeth, and that is all. Flossing is not something you can probably manage without a lot of help. For this reason, your vet will floss your dog's teeth. The flossing will also help determine if there is any early-stage gum disease present, which can begin as early as three or four years old (approaching mid-life in dog years). Loose teeth are detected during the flossing process as well.
Up next, your vet will use special tools to scrape tartar from your dog's teeth and deep-clean the gums to prevent bacterial infections. Bacterial infections are the result of too much tartar and rotting particles of food under the gums. It is the leading cause of tooth loss and loss of appetite in dogs. Your dog's mouth is then flushed thoroughly before the teeth are polished smooth with a minty fresh paste. The dog breath is gone, and your dog now has a healthy, clean smile.
Noting Potential Problems
During the course of all of the above, the vet will take notes about potential problems. These problems may include cavities, rotting teeth, loose teeth, gum infections, and abscesses. Your vet will discuss the seriousness of these issues with you and when these problems should be addressed in the future.