To properly clean a dog or cat’s teeth they need to be ultrasonically scaled and polished above and below the gum line (gingival margin).
- The ultrasonic scaling and polishing above the gingiva removes plaque bacteria and calculus on the crown of the pet’s tooth and improves the odor of the pet’s breath and appearance of the teeth. Bacteria above the gum line are not as clinically important as those located below the gum line.
- It is actually more important to provide ultrasonic scaling and polishing below the gum line. Scaling here removes the subgingival plaque bacteria and calculus that are directly responsible for periodontal disease. This is a step that cannot be performed when using “anesthesia free dental cleanings” that some lay people are promoting.
We do not support these anesthesia free cleanings as they do not properly clean pet’s teeth and can lead to much more significant problems.
- If left untreated, sub-gingival (below the gum line) bacterial plaque and calculus will result in gingivitis (inflamed, red gums) and over time gingival (gum) recession and bone loss will follow.
- Gingivitis, bone loss and gingival recession are the result of chronic inflammation and infection.
- If the gingival recession and bone loss is severe enough, tooth loosening and loss will eventually occur.
- Chronic infection is the problem and this has an everyday detrimental impact on the systemic health of your pet.
- Once a tooth has lost a significant amount of attachment (loss of supportive structures), the only recourse is often extraction. Extractions are necessary when it becomes the only means of controlling infection.