Pet Dental Care

We firmly believe in the importance of oral health in the overall wellbeing of your pet. We employ Licensed Technicians to provide thorough teeth cleaning and polishing, as well as digital dental radiographs. Our doctors provide an array of dental and oral surgical procedures.

Your pet’s teeth should be checked and cleaned based on your veterinarian's recommendation. We also suggest regular

home care.

Dental care is an important and often overlooked factor in keeping your pet healthy and happy. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by three years of age. Consistent home dental care and routine professional examinations can help prevent problems like bad breath and oral infections. Owners can visit VOHC.org for products and home care ideas.

SIGNS YOUR PET NEEDS DENTAL CARE

There are many ways to check and see if your pet may be having dental issues, but there are also signs that may not be as visible. This is why veterinarians recommend having your pet’s teeth checked annually. Here are some things to keep an eye (or nose) out for:

Bad breath

Broken, loose, or missing teeth

Discoloration or tartar build up

Excessive chewing or drooling

Reduced appetite or inability to chew

Swelling and bleeding in or around the mouth

Common Pet Dental Care Questions

Once the pet’s health has been thoroughly assessed by the doctor’s exam and laboratory data (i.e., blood work), an IV catheter is placed. The IV catheter is important to deliver the safest forms of anesthesia as well as IV fluids that support blood pressure and remove toxins caused by bacteria from the blood stream. An injectable dose of antibiotics will be given prior to the procedure to protect the bloodstream and begin the healing phase. Once under general anesthesia, a complete exam of the mouth will be done, searching for pockets of bone loss, loose or broken teeth and tumors. The entire tooth is cleaned above and below the tooth line with an ultrasonic scaler instrument. When all the tartar has been removed, we polish the tooth.

Dental radiology (i.e., dental x-rays) is an essential tool in both humans and pets to complete the dental assessment and generate an acceptable therapeutic plan. Because 50% of each tooth is below the gum line, it is not possible to examine the entire tooth using any other method. We perform full mouth digital x-rays for every pet, every dental procedure just like your dentist does for you.  X-rays will uncover any hidden painful disease, such as root abscesses, root fractures, severe bone loss of the jaw and cystic lesions. Dental x-rays are especially imperative in pets due to their high tolerance of pain and inability to communicate it.

STEP 1: SUPRAGINGIVAL CLEANING

The tartar and plaque that is visible above the gum line is removed so that all surfaces of each tooth may be visualized.

STEP 2: SUBGINGIVAL CLEANING

This is cleaning the area under the gum line. In our animal patients, this is the most important step. The subgingival plaque and calculus are what cause periodontal disease. This is the most common ailment diagnosed in ALL animal patients. Cleaning the tooth surface above the gum line will make the teeth look nice, but in reality, does little medically for the patient.

STEP 3: ASSESSMENT

Our veterinarian evaluates the entire oral cavity and records any abnormalities on a special dental record. Some examples of oral abnormalities are tongue or lip lesions, deep pockets in the gums around the teeth and loose, broken or discolored teeth.

STEP 4: ADVANCED DENTAL IMAGING

Advanced Dental Imaging is taken of every tooth in the mouth to discover problems, such as retained roots, enamel defects, root abscesses and bone loss due to infection.

STEP 5: POLISHING

The mechanical removal of the plaque and calculus causes microscopic roughening of the tooth surface. This roughening increases the retentive ability of the tooth for plaque and calculus. Polishing will smooth the surface and decrease the adhesive ability of plaque.

STEP 6: SUB-GINGIVAL LAVAGE

The scaling and polishing of the teeth will cause a lot of debris to become trapped under the gums. This will cause local inflammation, as well as increase the chance of future periodontal disease. For this reason, we gently flush the gingiva with an antibacterial solution.

STEP 7: TREATMENTS

If any abnormalities are found during the assessment and dental advanced imaging, various treatments may be recommended. Some examples of treatments are tooth extraction, bonded sealants of fractures, and local antibiotic treatment of pockets around the teeth. The veterinarian will explain any abnormalities and discuss treatment options. We are happy to provide an estimate at each stage of this procedure.

STEP 8: PREVENTION

Prevention is one of the most important parts of the oral hygiene procedure. The gold standard for prevention is routine, daily brushing. Visit VOHC.org for more information.

Our pets have a strong instinct to hide pain, so this can be difficult to recognize. Many times, they will mask pain and owners may not even notice a difference in their pet’s eating or day-to-day routines. This is why our pets will continue eating, even if their teeth look or smell bad. Some lesser-known indications of pain include increased licking, altered or heavy breathing, changes in posture, and changes in sleep habits.

While there are multiple reasons for anesthesia, the most important is that it maintains the safety and comfort for your pet. Evaluating and cleaning your pet’s teeth is a delicate process that requires a good amount of time. Without anesthesia your pet would have to be restrained, leading to stress and tension. Using anesthesia allows us to immobilize your pet to clean the gums (where the problems lie), control pain, and get a thorough oral evaluation.

Get the best care for your best friend.