Annual dental exams and cleanings are recommended to protect your pet from many health problems and help them maintain a healthy and clean mouth.
Studies show that 50% of all dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. That number jumps to 80% in pets that are 3 years of age or older. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause infection, pain, and tooth loss over time. It can also lead to serious health problems like microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys. Because of this, we recommend an annual veterinary dental healthcare examination for all pets.
Many health problems start in the mouth. Plaque, tartar, periodontal disease, and infected teeth serve as a source of inflammation and infection for the rest of the body.
Dental disease is one of the most common problems that we see in dogs and cats. It can cause drooling, reluctance to eat, swelling, bad breath, redness of the gums, loose teeth and tooth discoloration.
Dental issues and dental related diseases can easily be prevented by visiting our veterinarians regularly for dental examinations and cleanings. We take a comprehensive approach to dental care including dental health assessment, treatment, and prevention.
Dog and cat dental cleanings are very similar to human dental cleanings, except that we are required to use anesthesia to properly and safely examine and clean the teeth. After the cleaning, our veterinarians perform a thorough oral exam and check for signs of disease like gum loss, root exposure, or pockets around the root.
Also similar to human dentistry, we do full mouth radiographs (x-rays) of your pet. This allows our veterinarians to be able to evaluate the roots of your pet's teeth as well as any disease or abnormalities that are located below the gum line and not visible on examination alone.
We make every effort to save teeth that we feel have a chance to be successfully treated. In many circumstances, however, periodontal disease is so advanced that treatment without extraction is unsuccessful. We only extract teeth that in the doctor's opinion are beyond saving.
Many teeth require oral surgery to safely remove each individual root. We have extensive training and experience to perform these procedures properly. Pain medications are administered in clinic and provided for in-home aftercare.
Cat and dog teeth cleaning and dental care should ultimately begin when your four-legged friend is still young, and can be more easily acclimated to experiences like teeth brushing. While this can be managed at home, we offer more extensive services, including:
Dental prophylaxis – cleaning your pet’s teeth using an ultrasonic scaling instrument that blasts away tough plaque and tartar
Polishing the teeth to smooth the surface and prevent plaque buildup
*All of our canine and feline patients must be fully sedated for us to safely and thoroughly clean their teeth above and below the gum line. Preliminary blood work helps us check for underlying issues and minimize risk during the dental procedure.
The earliest age at which pets should have their first professional cleaning is between 2-3 years, but this can vary. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best time for cat and dog teeth cleaning, and will explain the procedure to you in full so you can make an informed decision. The following symptoms and behaviors may also indicate that it’s time for a cleaning:
Yellow or brown teeth
Gums that are red, swollen, and bleeding
Difficulty chewing and eating
Pawing at the mouth or face
Swelling of the face
If you observe any of these symptoms in your pet, call our office at (312) 428-2571 so we can examine your pet and provide them with the cat and dog teeth cleaning and dental care they need to stay healthy.