Dental Care

Dog dental care

Your pet's dental health is an important part of his overall health. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the age of 3. It is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Dental disease is an often unrecognized source of pain in pets.

Common signs of oral disease include:

  • Tartar buildup
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Changes in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face
  • Generalized depression. 

Dental disease causes pain and can affect other organs in the body: bacteria in the mouth can get into the blood stream and may cause serious kidney infections, liver disease, lung disease, and heart valve disease. Oral disease can also indicate that another disease process is occurring elsewhere in a pet’s body. A thorough physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if this is the case.

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends regular oral examinations and dental cleanings, under general anesthesia, for all adult dogs and cats. A veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. This is recommended because bacteria and food debris accumulates around a pet’s teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay results in irreversible periodontal disease and even tooth loss. We can recommend and demonstrate preventative measures you can begin at home. Our wellness program emphasizes and explains how you can avoid costly dental procedures with your pet in the future.

For more information about dental care for your pet, including helpful documents on brushing your pet's teeth and dental diets, visit our Pet Dental Care page.

While there are some people out there that claim they can get your pet's teeth clean without using sedation or anesthesia, the scientific evidence is firmly against them. For more on this subject, please visit This Website that discusses a case where anesthesia-free dentistry hurt one dog's teeth and visit the American Veterinary Dental College to view their stance on animal dental scaling without anesthesia.

So, if you checked out those sites, you now know that it is very important that all pets be under anesthesia while undergoing dentistry to ensure that a complete cleaning is performed to provide a safe, pain-free experience. For more information about what your pet's day will be like if they come for a dental prophylaxis, please visit our Surgery page.

All of our COHATs include the following:

  • Propofol Anesthetic- a very safe, quick acting drug to get them asleep, followed by an inhaled gas anesthesia to ensure that they do not feel any pain during the cleaning
  • IV fluids- given throughout the procedure, IV fluids to help flush the pet’s system of bacteria and anesthesia as well as maintain their blood pressure while they are asleep
  • Sterilized instruments- each pet gets their very own set of sterilized tools
  • Anti bacterial spray
  • Ultrasonic scaling of teeth to remove tartar, both the visible tartar above the gumline and the hidden tartar below the gumline
  • All teeth are probed and checked for mobility, fractures and pockets- this is when we determine the health of each tooth and determine if any teeth need to be treated or extracted
  • All extractions receive consil bone graft and are closed with absorbable suture. If indicated, gingival flaps and gingivectomies can be performed
  • Polishing of teeth to remove any lines in teeth (caused by scaling); this step is critical in creating a smooth surface to discourage future tartar formation

Before, and....... After!

Other treatments that are available for use in certain situations:

  • Fluoride treatment
  • Oravet sealant treatment that blocks tartar buildup for two weeks
  • Consil – used when a tooth is extracted to act as a bone graft so teeth left around empty pocket will not collapse into space left behind
  • Doxirobe – used when a tooth has a large pocket but does not need to be extracted. This will help save the tooth
  • Oravet home care kit- Sealant that an owner can easily apply to their dog or cat’s teeth once a week to help with dental care at home

Feel like you need more information? Please visit the link below.

From FAQ: Toothbrushing and Dental Prophylaxis in Cats and Dogs.