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D2005-04

Dear Daisy Dog

My groomer offered to scrape the tartar off my dog Tasha’s teeth. It wouldn’t involve anesthesia, so it’s less expensive than what my veterinarian charges. Should I tell her to go ahead?

Daisy Responds

I wouldn’t want that, and I don’t think Tasha would either. Let me explain why.

When teeth are scaled properly, tartar is removed not only from the visible part of the tooth, called the crown, but from under the gum as well.

Scaling the crowns makes the teeth look pretty, but removing tartar beneath the gums is actually more important, because tartar in that location promotes gum infection.

Gum infections not only result in tooth loss, but they spread bacteria throughout the body, infecting the kidneys, liver, heart valves and lungs.

Scaling under the gums without anesthesia hurts enough that we dogs squirm. So a thorough job requires anesthesia – which only Tasha’s veterinarian can provide.

An added benefit of anesthesia is that the breathing tube placed in Tasha’s throat will protect her from inhaling bits of tartar removed during the cleaning procedure.

Tasha’s veterinarian will not only scale all surfaces of her teeth, but polish them afterwards so plaque won’t stick as easily in the future.

Some veterinarians also seal the teeth with OraVet, which forms a physical barrier that prevents bacteria and plaque from attaching to the teeth.

To maintain the barrier’s effectiveness, you can apply OraVet gel to Tasha’s teeth on a weekly basis at home. It takes only a minute or two.

Help Tasha celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month by making an appointment with her veterinarian for a professional cleaning. To learn more, check out www.petdental.com.

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