Dental Health

An important but often overlooked part of keeping your pet healthy for years to come!

dog getting teeth cleaned

Did you know-  85% of dogs age 3 and over have already developed dental disease!!  Your pet can't brush or floss it's teeth so its your job as their owner to help them maintain a healthy mouth!

Signs your pet may have dental disease:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose, discolored teeth covered with tartar
  • Doesn't like mouth touched
  • Drooling or dropping food
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss

Plaque contains bacteria that contributes to bad breath.  Over time it solidifies into a rock like material called tartar.   Large volumes of bacteria in tartar and plaque in your pet's mouth can cause or contribute to many problems including:

  • Pain
  • Sinus infections, sinus pain or congestion
  • Abscess or infection on the face
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease

Prevention is key to helping your pet live a long and happy life!!

dental disease before cleaning

teeth after dental cleaning

Good dental health begins with the proper diet

The wrong kinds of food can cause dental distress in pets.  Feeding your dog a dry food rather than a moist, canned one will, through its mild abrasive action on the teeth, help remove the bacterial plaque that can harden into tartar.  Dry food also provides adequate chewing exercise and gum stimulation.  Avoid giving your pet sweets and table scraps as they may also increase plaque and tartar formation.  Your veterinarian may recommend the use of special dry foods designed to reduce plaque and tartar buildup, especially if your pet is prone to dental problems due to his breed or individual genetic history. 

Brushing teeth can prevent plaque buildup from turning into tartar

Brushing your pet's teeth is the best way to get rid of plaque before it turns into tartar.  When dental disease is mild most pets quickly learn to enjoy tooth brushing.  Follow these tips to make it as pleasant as possible for both you and your pet:

  • Only use non-fluoride toothpaste- pet friendly flavors are best and can be purchased at most pet supply stores
  • Use soft bristled toothbrushes and focus on brushing the outside of the teeth- that is where most tartar develops!
  • Reward your pet with praise and petting during the process and give him a very special treat for a job well done

Once tartar has formed professional dental cleaning is needed to get rid of the buildup

Pets with moderate to severe dental disease need to be anesthetized for their cleaning as the procedure takes longer and if the teeth are unhealthy from chronic disease they may need to be extracted.  Once your pet is anesthetized we clean all the teeth and evaluate each tooth looking for signs of disease.  We take x-rays of the teeth to look at the roots and make sure there are no problems under the gum line.  After cleaning the teeth they are polished, and fluoride is applied to help protect the teeth from future damage. 

What is a moderate sedate dental?

Pets with mild dental tartar can benefit from a dental cleaning too!  When there is a small amount of tartar buildup we can perform a dental cleaning and polishing with sedation alone.  With sedation your pet is calmer, allowing us to clean teeth safely without fully anesthetizing your pet.  They recover from sedation quickly and have a shorter stay in the clinic. 

Are you interested in having your pet's teeth cleaned and want to learn more about how we do that?  The video Lucky's Dilemma takes you through a typical dental procedure with Lucky- a Sheltie with dental disease.  To watch the video you can click here or find it under our resources link. 

We would be happy to help your pet maintain a healthy smile!


We look forward to hearing from you

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After Hours Assurance

Do you think you have an emergency but its after hours and our clinic is closed? Don't question if its a true emergency- call us first! Introducing after hours assurance- our new service that allows you to speak with one of our veterinarians after hours and on weekends about your pet's emergencies. Now you can talk with someone you trust who knows your pet and can give you home care advice and help you determine if you need to seek emergency treatment.