Contact River Road Pet Clinic Today - Tucson's Best Specialty Vet
(520) 577-3100
5655 E River Rd #171
Tucson, AZ 85750


Pet Dental Care in Tucson Arizona from River Road Pet ClinicOral disease is the most common ailment found in pets. Bacteria from the teeth and gums can damage the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. Many of the “old age” problems we deal with in companion animals can be traced back to poor oral health. If your pet has tartar build-up, redness where tooth meets gumline, or breath that is no longer “Minty Fresh” please call us at 577-3100 to schedule an evaluation! Our top quality dental services can add years of health and comfort to your pet’s life.

A dental prophylaxis is performed not only to clean the teeth, but also to evaluate the oral cavity for any other problems that might be present. The cleaning not only includes what you can see, but also the area under the gumline where most of the tooth structure is. We have devised a twelve-step prophylaxis to give our patients the maximum benefit in available.

Before the prophylaxis can begin, the patient must be placed under a general anesthetic. Blood work is done to ensure your pet’s overall health before placing him or her under anesthesia. An Electrocardiogram (EKG) is done to ensure your pet has an appropriate heart rate and rhythm prior to anesthesia. Intravenous catheters are placed to ensure that we have an open port to a vein for drug administration and intravenous fluid administration during the anesthetic procedure. Intravenous fluids help maintain proper blood pressure while the patient is under anesthesia. These pre-anesthetic steps are crucial to providing the pet with the safest anesthetic experience possible. After the patient is placed under anesthesia, an endo-tracheal tube is placed in the patient’s trachea. This will protect the lungs from the bacteria and calculus being removed from the teeth and provide continuous oxygen and gas anesthesia during the procedure.

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The Twelve Steps of Dental Prophylaxis

Step 1: Pictures – For visual purposes, before and after photos are taken and given to the client for their records.

Step 2: Extraction forceps are used to remove the gross calculus (tartar) from the crown (visible portion of the tooth).

Step 3: Prohylaxis- An ultrasonic dental scaler is used, similar to what is used for human dental cleanings. The “beaver tail” tip is used for general cleaning. It is a wide tipped scaler used to remove tartar and plaque from the crown of the tooth.

Step 4: A hand held (non mechanical) scaler is used to remove debris trapped between teeth and under the gum line. This step is crucial to a proper cleaning as debris under the gumline is the main cause of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Step 5: An “ultra fine detail” ultrasonic tip is used. This tip uses a slower ultrasonic speed and is safe for use under the gumline. This removes any residual debris and loose particles from under the gum line. The vibration on the ultrasonic helps to stimulate the gums, which allows the gums to begin the repair of minor gingivitis.

Step 6: A “Moorse” scaler (non mechanical) is used to remove debris stuck in the grooves of the pets teeth.

Step 7: A Dental probe is used to measure all four sides of each tooth for any pockets or gum recession. Deep pockets are signs of unhealthy gums and teeth. Dental radiographs are required to evaluate these teeth for possible extraction.

Step 8: Dental radiographs allow us to look at the root structure, bone structure and placement of the teeth under the gumline. Further treatment may be needed for the pet, which may not have been detected without radiographs.

Step 9: Polishing- The mechanical removal of Plaque and calculus causes microscopic roughening of the tooth. These rough spots create a place for bacteria and plaque to adhere to and restart tartar formation. High grit polishing paste with fluoride is applied liberally to all surfaces of each tooth. A mechanical polisher is then used to smooth the crown and the tooth just above the gumline.

Step 10: Lavage. Scaling and polishing will cause a lot of debris to become trapped in the pockets of the oral cavity. The mouth is gently flushed to rid the area of excess polish, and debris.

Step 11: Antibiotics/Pain Management- All pets are given an injection of antibiotics at the start of the procedure. Pets with severe periodontal disease may need more treatment then routine antibiotic therapy. An antibiotic “cement” is applied under the gumline in areas of severe disease. This antibiotic attaches to the tooth surface and stays in place for 2-4 weeks. This provides topical antibiotics directly at the location that needs it most. Pain relief is provided to all patients undergoing dental work where discomfort is to be anticipated.

Step 12: Charting. All pertinent findings and treatment rendered are charted and placed in the patient’s permanent medical record. A copy of this chart will be sent home with you for your records as well. Any teeth removed, broken, discolored, or needing to be monitored for possible removal at a later date are all charted. The locations of doxirobe “the antibiotic cement” are also recorded.


Our dental prophylaxis process also includes a recheck 10-14 days after the procedure to ensure that all healing has occurred as expected. At that time we will also help implement an at-home oral care routine to help you maintain the health of your pet’s mouth.

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