Preventative dentistry chapter
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Homecare - the Most Important Aspect of a Basic Dental Procedure

  • Bring the patient back after five to seven days to allow you to demonstrate the techniques once the soft tissues have healed.

  • Stress that home care is a daily maintenance task to mechanically remove plaque. Note that humans do this twice daily.

  • Brushing every second day is 60% less effective than once daily. Brushing less frequently will have dubious effectiveness.

  • Advise owners that professional scaling and polishing without home care is unlikely to be effective.

  • Review the mouth using an interval consistent with the disease present. In severely affected cases 1-3 months is advised. An interval of 4-6 months is more usual. At the time of review, use a disclosing solution to demonstrate any areas of plaque that the client may be missing. This can be added to the ongoing dental chart.
    Step 1: initiation of home care (27 seconds)


How to Brush

  1. Home care involves training the animal to accept something new. Realistically it may take a month to introduce it fully.

  2. Show the owner how to apply the dentifrice with their fingers, initially to the buccal surfaces of the teeth.

  3. Once the principle is accepted by the animal, introduce the brush and gradually move it rostral to caudal to distribute the dentifrice. Finally attempt to rotate the brush head in a circular motion at a 60° angle to the gingival margin to debride the crowns, gingiva and gingival sulcus. Both sides of the teeth need to be brushed - buccal and lingual or palatal.

    Step 2: application of dentifrice to brush (13 seconds)

    Step 3: initiation of brushing (42 seconds)


Aids to Home Care

Other useful aids to home care help the process but should be used in addition to brushing - not instead of it.

  • ProVseal™ is a product making use of barrier technology. The tooth surface carries a negative charge which allows positively charged transfer agents to bind strongly with it. These agents are easily applied by the owners and prevent plaque attachment for 4-7 days. They should be considered complementary to brushing.

  • Canine and Feline t/d™ diet (Hills Pet Products) can be a useful adjunct to brushing but never a substitute for it. It only removes supragingival plaque in the teeth used to chew the food. Painful areas that the animal does not use will not benefit.

  • Chews for cats and dogs have also improved in recent years. These can be either the traditional cow hide type or, more effectively, the newer circular manufactured chews. (CET Cat Chews™: CET Dog Chews™ ( Virbac) and Rask™ (Waltham)).



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