What Happens During a Dog’s Dental Cleaning?
From your dog's perspective: experiencing a dental visit.
Hi there! My name is Charles, and I am told I am a loving, carefree, 5 year old Golden Retriever. I like to play ball and curl up with my human every night to snuggle together in bed. Lately though, I've been having some problems with my mouth, so my human is taking me to the veterinarian's office to get everything sorted out. I understand how scary this can be for pets and humans both, so I want to give you every detail of my day. That way you know what to expect with your pet's dental cleaning.
What Brought Me To The Vet?
I guess we should start at the beginning. I've been having some irritability with my teeth and gums. My teeth are a little painful and sometimes my gums even bleed when I play tug-of-war with my human. I know I overheard my human explaining that bleeding and tooth pain can be a sign of something more serious. Not only could this be the beginnings of dangerous gingivitis in my mouth, but it could mean that something more serious is happening inside my body. My human explained that sometimes heart disease and kidney disease can show the first symptoms in the mouth, so it's best to have my teeth and gums checked.
Plus, I've noticed that the areas around my teeth and gums look pretty gross. There has been a lot of plaque and tarter build up along my gum line that I just can't seem to get rid of, no matter how many sticks and bones I chew. My human also says that my breath has a different odor, which could be a sign that one of my teeth is diseased or broken. I suppose this means that it is time to have a professional take a closer look at my teeth and gums to see what is going on.
I understand that a dental visit can help dogs that have lots of other issues with their mouth too. Not only can the veterinarian help to clean and inspect the teeth and gums, but she will be able to examine any ulcers or abscess that might be in the mouth. A veterinarian can also take a look at any damaged or broken teeth and remove them so they don't cause any pain. Having a dental visit seems like it does a tremendous amount of good, and can help keep me in overall great shape.
When I got to the vet's office this morning the vet did a few quick tests. None of them hurt, which was good, but I was a little anxious. First, my veterinarian took my temperature (don't ask how that was done), and then she took a little bit of blood. It was just a tiny prick, and well worth it to make sure that I am healthy enough to undergo a light anesthesia. She also listened to my heart and lungs, and it turns out I'm as fit as a fiddle! I understand though that sometimes my vet likes to take these tests a few days ahead of the surgery too. I guess everyone does it a little differently.
Now, all that the vet needs to do is administer some light anesthesia. This will put me into a gentle, restful sleep. I'm told that this is not only to protect me, but to protect my vet too. I understand sometimes when I'm scared or nervous I can snap or bite. But I also know that if I'm asleep it will give my veterinarian the best chance of getting into my mouth so that she can examine every little crack and nook. I'm ready for my cleaning, so I'll be sure to tell you how it went when I wake up!
After The Cleaning
Wow, what a good sleep. I don't remember sleeping that well since I had a long day of swimming and digging at the beach last summer! I admit I may be a little groggy, and my mouth feels just a bit sore. It turns out I had to have a tooth removed. It ended up being diseased, which was causing my breath to smell. My human said it was better to have the diseased tooth removed so that it didn't infect otherwise healthy teeth in my mouth. My gums also feel a little bit sore, but they sure are clean. My veterinarian was able to clean all of my teeth and gums, reducing the chance of me getting gingivitis from the built up plaque and tartar.
My human explained that I'm probably going to have some soft food tonight since my mouth is a bit tender. I'm also going to have to take some antibiotics for the next few days just to fight off the chance of a possible infection forming in my mouth. This seems to be well worth it though for clean and healthy teeth and gums.
Lastly, I heard the veterinarian talking to my human about changes we can make at home to keep my pearly whites looking great. She mentioned something about using textured chews and toys. Not only will these provide entertainment, but they will help to keep my teeth clean and plaque free in between cleanings. I heard my vet also mention something about additives to my water. She says my water shouldn't taste any different, but it will help to break up any tarter that might begin to form on my teeth. I also heard her say that we will do the cleaning again, maybe next year, in order to stay on top of my teeth. It's important to have healthy teeth and gums because I use my mouth for so many things. Having regular dental visits as part of my wellness exam is the best way for me to stay healthy.