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Importance of Dental Health

The Importance of Dental Health

It is estimated that over 85% of patients suffer from periodontal disease by 3 years of age. The reasons behind regular dental cleanings are not cosmetic by any means - infection, inflammation, and painful gingivitis can be avoided through regular dental prophylactic care. Dental disease also burdens major organs like the heart with bacteria and inflammation. We offer advanced veterinary dentistry to support the overall well-being of our patients.

The Role of Dental Cleanings and Home-care

Once tartar and plaque have accrued in your pet's mouth, the only means of removing this source of inflammation and infection is through a professional dental cleaning. For pets, this requires anesthesia. Once the disease has been treated and source of infection removed, owners may begin a home-care plan (teeth-brushing, gum-gels, dental treats or chews, etc.) to prevent further accumulation of tartar and plaque.

The Complete Dental Prophylaxis

There are 15 steps involved in a complete dental prophylactic procedure for a cat or dog.


The first is an oral health assessment to evaluate the possibility of dental disease in the patient. Our doctors will determine the grade or severity (Grade 1 - gingivitis, through Grade 4 - advanced periodontitis) of the periodontal disease. If a cleaning and prophylaxis is indicated, we will next run pre-anesthetic bloodwork.

Under general anesthesia, the procedure begins with an oral rinse with chlorhexidine and ultrasonic scaling of the teeth (like you would have at your dentist) to remove plaque and tartar below the gumline. The teeth are then polished, fluoride is applied, and the teeth are irrigated with chlorhexidine again. The doctor will perform an additional dental exam, probing, and evaluating the tooth conditions more in depth.

Next, oral radiographs are used to examine the health of teeth and jaw-bone below the gum-line. Oral surgery is performed where indicated (broken, eroded, and painful teeth are extracted). The patient is then ready for post-operative recovery.


Once home, it is important that owners keep up with daily home dental care to maintain dental health. A follow up appointment is included at no extra fee to ensure healing for operative sites and discuss oral health maintenance.

Dog's teeth before and after dental cleaning.
Cat's teeth before an after dental cleaning.
Pet dental radiographs (x-rays)

Dental Home Care

Home oral health care is an integral part of dental preventative wellness care. Daily teeth brushing or use of other approved oral health products can prevent against systemic infection and painful tooth disease. It is important that your pet be evaluated by a veterinarian prior to beginning his or her home healthcare plan, to determine that they don't first need a cleaning to remove tartar and plaque (no home care product can remove these) and to make certain that no painful conditions such as resorptive lesions are present.

Feline Dental Health

Daily teeth brushing is the gold standard of home oral care. This video details how to introduce this process to your cat. If you have a dog, check out the video further down. 

Tooth Brushing Instructional Videos

The site link below offers further detail on the importance of teeth brushing and a 4 week plan to help your cat learn to love their dental care!

Brushing Your Cat's Teeth - Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine

Other feline dental health products are available, such as gels, chews, special diets, and treats. Talk to your veterinarian about what is appropriate for your cat.


Canine Dental Health

This video discusses the importance of daily teeth brushing in dogs, and how best to introduce this process. If teeth brushing is not appropriate for your dog, your veterinarian might recommend an oral gel, powder food additive, special diet, dental chew, or other dental product. Be aware that many dog chew toys and bones may actually damage or break your pet's teeth! Animal origin bones, antlers, ice, and "durable" plastic or rubber chew bones often cause microfractures in your pet's teeth as well as stomach upset. Discuss which chews are appropriate with your veterinarian.

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