Pet Dental Care

Why Veterinary Dentistry is Important

While it's possible to extend your pet's life with proper dental care, you can also optimize his or her health and vitality. Proper dental care will help ensure your pet leads the best life possible.

If left untreated, dental disease can be painful and inhibit proper nutrition. It can also lead to serious systemic issues that may threaten your pet's health. For example, oral bacteria that enter the bloodstream can damage your pet's kidneys, heart or liver.

Despite the importance of proper dental care, dental disease is often overlooked by many pet owners. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop tooth and gum disease by the age of three years old.

Dental Care at Dover Veterinary Hospital

Dental CareDover Veterinary Hospital is recognized for our ability in performing a range of dental procedures. Our clients also have a high level of confidence in our pain management and anesthesia techniques, especially for longer procedures.

Our veterinarians receive regular continuing education in dental care, which has included bringing in a board certified veterinary dentist to provide instruction to our doctors. We also work with veterinary dental specialists who are able to perform more complicated dental procedures for our clients' pets.

As it is important to know as much as possible about the health of your pet before they undergo anesthesia, most dental procedures require pre-surgical blood work. Blood work generally consists of a CBC (complete blood count) and a blood chemistry profile. A CBC provides important information about the kinds and number of cells in the blood. The chemistry profile checks kidney and liver function, as well as blood sugar and electrolyte levels. Once under anesthesia, an oral exam is conducted during which the gums around the teeth are probed and any pockets are noted.

Dover Veterinary Hospital performs digital dental radiographs (x-rays). Digital radiographs are high-definition images providing a view below your pet's gum line and jaw. We look for evidence of dental disease that cannot be seen by visual examination alone. This is an essential tool in diagnosing dental issues before they become much larger and more expensive medical issues.

As part of the cleaning process, the doctor may note any teeth that are diseased, loose or broken. If your pet needs additional dental procedures, such as extractions, the doctor will prescribe pain medications and/or antibiotics.

Home Dental Care

Keeping your pet's teeth clean is a year-round process. Our staff can show you how to brush your pet's teeth at home. Brushing helps delay the build-up of plaque and tartar and is a great way for you to bond with your pet.

It is also important for you to recognize the signs and symptoms of dental problems, which include:

  • Bad breath
  • A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Pain or bleeding when your pet eats, or when the mouth or gums are touched
  • Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
  • Loose or missing teeth