Dental Care

More than 80% of pets have dental disease by the time they reach three years of age. Most pets do not show any signs of mouth pain and continue to eat and act fairly normally at home, even in the face of catastrophic dental disease. However, there are some early signs of dental disease that we can recognize: Does your best friend have bad breath? Despite what many pet owners may believe, “dog breath” is not just a nuisance – it’s a sign of an unhealthy mouth. Bad breath is caused by bacteria. Over time, bacteria lead to plaque and tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth. Even if you’re using treats and chews to help control tartar, these are frequently not enough to keep dental disease in check. Ask us about the best ways to control plaque and help protect your pet from dental disease. Dental hygiene is an important part of your pet's health, because dental disease has been shown to contribute to other serious health problems such as heart disease and kidney disease. In general, if your pet has visible tartar on their teeth, they should be cleaned.


How do you know if your pet has a healthy mouth? Let us examine your pet’s teeth and gums to help determine if there are any dental issues you should know about. After a brief visual examination, we may recommend a more detailed examination (which requires sedation), a dental cleaning, or options for at-home dental care.

What about anesthesia free dental cleaning? “Anesthesia-Free” dental cleanings do nothing to prevent or resolve dental disease. The American Veterinary Medical Association(AVMA), American Animal Hospitals Association (AAHA), and the American Veterinary Dental College(AVDC) have been united in their disavowal of this procedure as beneficial to pets. (see http://avdc.org/AFD/, https://www.aaha.org/public_documents/professional/guidelines/clienthandoutdentalcare.pdf, and www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx for more information). In fact, in 2013, AAHA made it a mandatory requirement for accredited hospitals to perform all dental procedures under general anesthesia in support of this view. As an AAHA accredited hospital, we do not perform anesthesia-free dental cleanings. In addition to the fact that that the potential for injury in using sharpened metal instruments in the mouth of an awake animal outweighs the risk associated with well-monitored genera anesthesia, the simple fact remains that simply removing surface tartar on the teeth does nothing to address the fact that 80-90% of dental disease in pets occurs under the gum line, where you cannot see it, and certainly cannot clean without general anesthesia. Therefore, anesthesia free dental cleaning is a relatively costly, potentially dangerous and certainly stressful procedure that has been shown to have absolutely no health benefit to the pet.


We want your pet to live a long, healthy life, and we understand that maintaining a healthy mouth is part of that. Your pet’s health is important to us, so let us help you with this commitment. Call today to discuss your pet’s dental care needs and how we can help!

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