Does Hand Scaling Keep My Cat's Teeth Healthy?

Hand scaling, if recommended and done correctly, can be a useful procedure for removing plaque and tartar from your cat’s teeth, but there are some important things to keep in mind:

  1. Hand scaling is only minimally effective and can only be use for cats with mild to moderate plaque and tartar, no gingivitis and no potential extractions.
  2. Hand scaling is an anesthetic-free procedure, and therefore a possible alternative for elder cats who need some dental care but may have an increased risk of tolerating anesthesia.
  3. Keep in mind there are still risks involved with hand scaling. To do the procedure safely your kitty must tolerate being held while a technician scrapes their teeth with a dental instrument.
  4. Because hand scaling can be stressful for your pet, only a small percentage of cats are candidates.
  5. IMPORTANT: Hand scaling is not as thorough or effective as an ultrasonic cleaning because only the outer area of the teeth can be reached, meaning only half of each tooth is being cleaned!

We hope the above information is helpful. If you have more questions please ask us. Our number one priority at Nob Hill Cat Clinic is to make sure your kitty receives the best medical care possible, and an ultrasonic dental cleaning is by far the best and most effective dental cleaning available. It’s what we recommend and it’s what we do for our own kitties!

Considering a Non-Anesthetic Dental

There has been a growing trend over recent years of non-anesthetic dental cleanings being offered through pet stores and grooming salons. We strongly recommend using caution when considering these services. We are not implying that there is anything wrong with these services or companies. We even perform non-anesthetic cleanings here at Nob Hill Cat Clinic.

We just want you to be aware that non-anesthetic dental cleanings are very superficial and cosmetic. Your cat’s teeth will look clean and their breath may be better, but nothing has been done to address your cat’s actual dental health. The bacteria that lives under and around the gum line will still be present and continue to do damage. And just like in your own mouth, damaged gums and tooth roots cause pain for your cat.

Scaling plague and tartar off the teeth is only a small portion of the full anesthetic dental cleaning. When we put your cat under anesthesia for a dental cleaning we are able to perform a full service cleaning. We are able to evaluate each tooth for abnormalities such as pockets, cracks, breaks, or infection. We also have the capability to x-ray questionable teeth for further evaluation, and pull teeth as needed. Having a bad tooth removed will make a cat much more comfortable.

Maintaining a healthy, clean mouth for your cat is one of the most important preventative healthcare measures that you can take. Dental disease can have negative affects throughout your cat’s entire body.

Feel free to call us with any questions or to schedule your cat’s dental at (415) 776-6122.