Oviedo Animal Hospital

612 Geneva Drive
Oviedo, FL 32765




Dental Health


February was officially established as National Pet Dental Health Month in 1993 by the AVDS, the American Veterinary Dental College and the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry.




When your pet is admitted to the hospital for a dental cleaning, it is usually after a recent physical exam that indicated that your pet had some level of periodontal disease, plaque accumulation or gingivitis. Studies have shown that 85% of all dogs and cats over one year old have some degree of periodontal disease.

Your pet is then handled by our technicians who obtain pre-anesthetic bloodwork. This gives the veterinarian an idea of your animal's liver and kidney function, screens for other blood disorders and gives us an idea of how well your animal will metabolize the anesthesia.


Once your animal  has been cleared for surgery, he/she is given an intravenous (in the vein) injection of anesthetic, and drifts off to sleep. A tube is placed in the trachea to assist with breathing, and the plane of anesthesia is maintained via gas through that same tube. The animal is observed at all times by a technician, and machines measure pulse and respirations. 


The supragingival (above the gum line) plaque and tartar are removed using special calculus forceps, hand instruments, and power scaling equipment. We examine individual teeth for mobility, fractures, malocclusion, and periodontal disease (probe for pocket depths after calculus is removed). Special curettes are used to probe the subgingival (below the gum line)spaces as well as remove any deposits. 


Regardless of how careful we are during the scaling/curettage phase of teeth cleaning, minor defects of the tooth surface occur. Polishing smooths out the defects and removes plaque missed during previous steps. Pumice or polishing paste is used on a polishing cup for the procedure. Any excess paste or debris is flushed away when the teeth are rinsed. We then apply OraVet, a barrier sealant that helps to protect teeth and gums from plaque and calculus buildup due to bacteria.  

Dental Cleaning


After the cleaning, weekly brushing is ideal to prevent further buildup of plaque.  Weekly cleaning helps maintain the protective barrier your veterinarian established, and take less than 60 seconds.  Home care is the single most important procedure the owner can do to maintain oral health. If performed regularly, weekly brushing will dramatically improve oral health and prolong the time between dental cleanings. The goal of dental home care is to remove plaque from tooth surfaces and gingival sulci before it mineralizes into calculus, a process that occurs within days of a teeth cleaning.

Home care is best started at a young age before the adult teeth erupt. The perfect time to introduce dental home care is at the first puppy or kitten visit.  Clients often ask, "doesn't hard food keep teeth clean?" Some believe when their dog or cat chews on hard food or biscuits, mineral deposits are broken down and the teeth stay clean. This is not true. True, animals on soft diets accumulate plaque more readily than those on dry foods, but the only way to keep teeth clean above and below the gum line is by routine care.