What Is A Dental?

A “Dental” is a procedure where we clean a pet’s teeth and/or perform extractions.

Dentals can involve different treatments - below is a list of all of the procedures that may be involved in your pet's dental.

Scaling and Polishing - This is where we use an ultrasonic scaler to remove tartar from the pet’s teeth. We also apply a coat of dental polish, which will help seal and protect your pet’s teeth.

Anesthesia - Scaling can be uncomfortable and scary to pets, so for their safety and the safety of our staff, the pets must be under anesthesia in order to have a full dental cleaning. Some places offer anesthesia-free dental work, but do not perform complete dental scaling. Anesthesia-free dentals are a superficial clean – they only clean the front side of the front teeth, not the back teeth or inside of the mouth. If you are concerned about your pet undergoing anesthesia, we have a variety of pre-anesthesia blood panels that can help ensure your pet’s wellbeing.

Intravenous Fluids - IV fluids are an important asset when a pet is under anesthesia. The fluids allow us to maintain blood pressure, which the anesthesia lowers, as well as providing emergency access to the vein in case we need to administer emergency medications during the procedure.

Exam and Monitoring - During the day, your pet will get at least 4 exams and continuous monitoring. The exams are upon admission to our hospital, before undergoing anesthesia, after waking from anesthesia, and before pick-up. Your pet will also receive monitoring by our staff before, during, and after the procedure.

Extractions - Extractions need to happen when a pet’s tooth is loose, broken, or the root is exposed. All of these can cause an abscess, which would require surgery to fix. Extractions can be simple or complex, depending on the number of roots the tooth has and the nature of any fractures. If a pet gets extractions, the pet will need pain medication and antibiotics.

Does My Pet Need a Dental?

We usually recommend dentals every 1-3 years depending on your pet's dental hygiene and mouth structure. Cats can usually go longer without dentals than dogs, and short-nosed breeds are more prone to dental problems than long-nosed breeds. Some indications that your pet needs a dental include:

  • Buildup of tartar (this will be a yellow, brown, or greenish/grey buildup along the gumlines that does not go away with brushing)
  • Inflammation or redness in the gums
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty eating
  • Tooth root exposure/retreated gumline
  • Loose tooth or teeth

If you are unsure if your pet needs a dental, you can book an appointment to have us check.

How Can I Improve My Pet's Dental Health?

The first step to improving dental health is to check if your pet needs a dental. No amount of brushing or other dental care can erase past damage if enough tartar has built up or extractions are needed. A dental procedure can provide a fresh start for your pet's dental health.

Once your pet has had a dental, or if your pet does not need a dental, you can incorporate the following tips into your daily care to improve your pet's dental hygiene and decrease the frequency of your pet's dentals:

  • Special Dental Foods - Tartar can build up rapidly, especially in pets eating wet food. Special dental foods can help prevent tartar buildup. Dry foods are better for dental health, but wet food is better for keeping your pet hydrated. If you have concerns about your pet's diet, it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian or nutritionist first.
  • Tooth Brushing - Brushing a pet's teeth is the best way to prevent tartar buildup, and the only way to improve your pet's breath . Starting teeth brushing at an early age is very important. As fluoride is poisonous to pets, it is important not to use human toothpaste when brushing a pet's teeth. Special toothpaste and toothbrushes are available for pets. A dental alone will not improve your pets breath, you must brush your pet's teeth as well.
  • Dental Chews - Chewing products and bones can also prevent plaque and tartar buildup on your pet's teeth.

Watch our Pet Health Videos on Brushing Your Pet's Teeth or Periodontal Disease

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