Dog chasing bubbles

Dental Care for Cats & Dogs

Did you know that oral and dental health is one of the most important aspects of your pet’s overall health? If left unaddressed, dental disease, which develops over time, can eventually affect the internal organs. Of course, no one wants this for their pet, and we don’t want it for our patients. That's why we make assessing your pet’s mouth and teeth a priority during our exams.

A Veterinarian examining a brown dog's teeth.

The pet dental care services at Shore Haven Veterinary Hospital are designed to both prevent and treat oral problems, including broken teeth and gum disease. Our dental suites are equipped with modern tools and technology, allowing our veterinarians to perform high-quality dental care with patient safety and comfort at the forefront.

Signs of Gum Disease

Since gum disease is one of the most common diseases seen in pets, it’s important for you as a pet owner to be familiar with its symptoms. There are several stages of gum disease in pets and the more advanced the stage, the more symptoms there are. The following are some of the most common ones:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Trouble eating
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Brownish yellow tartar buildup along gum line

Dental Evaluation

A dental evaluation consists of an examination of your pet’s teeth and gums to confirm that a dental cleaning is necessary. Once your pet's needs have been determine, a plan will be made and we will schedule an appointment.

Dog and Cat Teeth Cleaning Procedure

We will give guidance on whether your pet is a candidate for a dental procedure by performing blood work and through evaluation of your pet’s health by a physical exam. Dental procedures in animals require general anesthesia. Once your pet is under anesthesia a more thorough examination can be performed and then the teeth will be cleaned and polished. Hand and ultrasonic scalers are used to remove tartar and plaque which cause periodontal disease. Polishing the teeth after the cleaning removes microscopic scratches and slows down future plaque accumulation.

Every tooth will be checked above and below the gum line for periodontal disease and abnormalities will be recorded in your pet’s medical record. A periodontal probe is used to check for bleeding gums, the development of pocketing (separation of tooth from the surrounding tissue), and tooth decay. During the procedure, additional issues such as cavities and advanced periodontal disease may be found, and there is a possibility that some teeth may need to be extracted. Our findings may also necessitate a follow-up visit.

At-Home Dog and Cat Teeth Cleaning

Taking care of your pet’s teeth with procedures is important in keeping your pet’s mouth healthy, but at-home care is equally important. We recommend that you brush your pet’s teeth with a pet-safe toothpaste daily. It is important to use pet-specific toothpaste. Human toothpaste and baking soda should never be used in pets as they contain ingredients that can be hazardous if swallowed. It not only tastes great to your pet but pet toothpaste is also specifically designed to break down plaque, reducing the time that you spend brushing their teeth.

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