All About the Dental Prophylaxis Procedure

It’s important to keep your pet’s dental health in order with regular brushings and good quality chew toys. However, these methods can only go so far—for a true deep clean, your pet will need a professional cleaning performed at the vet’s office! Here, your San Leandro, CA veterinarian tells you all about the dental prophylaxis procedure.

Before the Procedure

A dental prophylaxis procedure is performed while your pet is under general anesthesia. For this reason, your animal friend will need to be evaluated to make sure that anesthesia will be safe for them; this will involve bloodwork and a physical exam. In some instances, antibiotics are given before a dental cleaning to prevent infection in the event that bacteria should enter the bloodstream during the procedure.

Professional Cleaning

After your pet is under anesthesia, an endotracheal tube will be placed down your animal companion’s esophagus. This will prevent water and cleaning solutions from getting into your pet’s lungs, and it’s also how your pet will receive oxygen and further inhaled anesthetics during the cleaning.

At this point, your veterinarian is ready to begin the cleaning itself using a tool called an ultrasonic scaler. This is a scraper attached to a hand piece; the end of the device oscillates at an extremely high speed (about twenty-five thousand cycles per second!) in order to remove tartar. The scaler is pressed against the surface of your pet’s teeth to blast away built-up tartar.

After the initial cleaning, your veterinarian will perform a gingival probe; this involves checking over your pet’s teeth and gum lines to look for pockets that can harbor dangerous bacteria. During this stage, loose teeth can be extracted and dental X-rays can be performed to check for problems below your pet’s gum line.


The final stage of the dental prophylaxis is the polishing. Another high-speed scaler device is used to polish the surface of each tooth and remove defects in the enamel’s surface—by removing these tiny pores in the enamel, tartar has a more difficult time building up on your pet’s teeth. Finally, your veterinarian will administer fluoride treatment to help strengthen the enamel.

Do you have further questions about the dental prophylaxis procedure? Ready to have your pet’s mouth cleaned by the professionals? We are here to help! Call your San Leandro, CA animal hospital today to get your four-legged friend set up with an appointment.

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