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The Dental Program at Valley Animal Hospital

Imagine what would happen to your teeth and gums if you didn't go to the dentist regularly to have them cleaned.  Add onto that you rarely, if ever, brushed and flossed! You can imagine what your teeth would look like and the chronic, gnawing discomfort you would experience.  Dogs and cats are no different, especially in view of the fact they are now living longer than ever before.  In addition, current research shows that dental disease in animals worsens and even starts disease in other parts of the body.  A complete dental prophylaxis is one of the primary ways you can keep your dog or cat healthy for a long time to come and improve their quality of life.  And like us, they need their teeth as much as we do.  Dogs and cats that are accustomed to dry kibble can not chew so they are forced to "gum" large chunks of food and swallow them whole as it is too uncomfortable to chew.  This can exacerbate digestive issues.

What's a Dental Prophylaxis?

Cleaning your dog or cats' teeth is just part of a complete dental prophylaxis at Valley Animal Hospital as the following table shows:

Valley's Complete Prophylaxis

  • Charting Teeth:  Teeth are assessed and recorded for future reference.
  • Supra-Gingival Hand Cleaning:  Eliminate major calculus above the gum line.
  • Sub-Gingival Hand Cleaning:  Eliminate plaque and tartar below the gum line.
  • Ultrasonic Scaling:  Ultrasonic cleaning of a smooth tooth surface.
  • Examination by the Doctor:  Evaluate the need for further work as well as check for the presence of oral tumors.
  • Dental Radiographs:  X-Rays of any individual teeth suspicious for deep disease.
  • Low Speed Polishing:  Removal of the micro- scratches from the ultrasonic scaling.
  • Fluoride Treatment:  Application of caries fighting fluoride.
  • Apply Oravet®:  Application of a long- lasting, tartar control product.

Why do you need anesthesia?

Dogs and cats would never sit still for a dental prophylaxis.  Were it not for anesthesia,  it could even be a dangerous procedure as sharp instruments are used.  In addition, the ultrasonic equipment generates irritating sensations and sounds which are heard by dogs and cats.

But isn't anesthesia dangerous?

We would be misleading you if we claimed anesthesia did not involve some risk but here at Valley Animal Hospital, we go the extra mile to make certain it remains as close to zero risk as possible.  Here's why:

  • Pre-anesthetic blood analysis
  • Sophisticated monitoring equipment including ECG and blood oxygen levels
  • Constant observation and charting of vital signs by a veterinary nurse
  • Intravenous catheter placement with supportive fluid therapy via a fluid pump
  • Use of a Bear Hugger® full body heating unit
  • Constant supply of oxygen via an endotracheal tube
  • Recovery in a Snyder Intensive Care Unit® as needed