How to perform dental prophylaxis to reduce periodontal disease

01 April 2011
10 mins read
Volume 2 · Issue 3


Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent conditions seen in companion animal practice, and there are growing concerns about how it can contribute to the incidence of systemic disease in these animals. Regular oral examinations coupled with effective dental prophylaxis can help prevent periodontal disease and thus can contribute to the overall health and well-being of patients. Dental prophylaxis consists of several steps, including external and internal oral examinations followed by de-scaling (scaling), polishing and periodontal probing to measure attachment loss of the gingiva to the tooth roots. Regular preventive dental care is an area that nurses can play a vital role in to help animals live longer, healthier lives. Good nursing care and skill in dental prophylaxsis and hygiene techniques is paramount to ensure effective prevention of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent infectious conditions in dogs and cats, with nearly all companion animals being affected at some point by the time they reach maturity (Hoffman et al, 2007; Girard et al, 2009). Human studies show that there is a correlation between periodontal disease and a greater risk of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and cancer; there is mounting evidence to suggest that this is also true in animals (Pavlica et al, 2008; Friedewald and Kornman, 2009; Rawlinson et al, 2011). With this in mind, it is important that regular prophylactic dental treatment is a part of every pet's preventive health care. Veterinary nurses can greatly influence the overall health and well-being of patients by providing clients with comprehensive pet oral hygiene education and by maintaining high standards ofdental care and treatment within the veterinary practice environment.

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