What’s Involved In A Dental Procedure

Since studies show that over 80% of pets over the age of 3 have dental disease, it is
likely that many of our pet owners have been told that their pet needs a “dental procedure”. Or
maybe a “prophy” or a “COHAT” or some other term. There are many terms used to describe
the procedure. COHAT which stands for Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and
Treatment probably best describes what is actually done during the procedure.
A dental procedure is very similar to what happens when a person goes to the dentist,
with scaling, polishing and full mouth x-rays. But animals do not cooperate and hold their
mouths open so they do need to be under anesthesia for the procedure.
A very important part of any dental procedure is the assessment of the teeth and gums.
This is done under anesthesia so the veterinary dentist can closely examine each tooth and the
surrounding gums. The veterinarian will visually examine the tongue, under the tongue and the
back of the mouth. A vital part of the oral examination is x-rays of all the teeth and their roots.
This is very important since a large percentage of all dental abnormalities are not seen on the
visible aspect of the tooth, but are found under the gumline.
Once the oral exam and assessment are completed an oral treatment plan is formulated.
This includes the removal of calculus from the teeth and polishing of the crowns of the teeth.
But can also involve more extensive treatments such as curretting and root planing or surgical
extractions. Each pet is treated as an individual and each tooth is treated as an individual also.
The end goal of the dental procedure is healthy teeth and gums that help with the overall health
of the pet.
Dr. Jon’s new basset hound Roscoe needed dental care when he was adopted. His
before and after photos show a significant improvement from his routine dental cleaning.

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