Comprehensive Dental Care for Cats & Dogs
Routine dental care plays an important role in cats' and dogs' oral and overall health. That said, most pets don't receive the oral hygiene care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
At our veterinary hospitals in Houston County, we offer complete dental care services for your pet, from basics such as dental exams, teeth cleanings and polishing, to dental X-rays and surgeries.
We are also happy to provide dental health education to pet owners about home dental care for their pets.
Dental Surgery in Houston County
We understand that it can be scary to learn that your pet needs dental surgery. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible, for both you and your pet.
We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure your pet's experience with us is easy and comfortable. We'll explain each step of the process to you in detail before starting, including preparation and post-operative care needs.
We offer tooth extractions, jaw fracture repair surgeries, and gum disease treatment for cats and dogs.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Similar to your annual visit to the dentist, your dog or cat should see us for a dental examination at least once each year. Pets who are more prone to dental issues than others may need to come in more often.
Our vets at Smith Animal Hospital can assess, diagnose and treat dental health problems in dogs and cats.
Your pet will need a dental checkup if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
A thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before the dental exam.
We will take blood and urine analyses to ensure it's safe for your pet to undergo anesthesia. Additional diagnostics, such as chest radiographs or an ECG may also be conducted.
Once your pet is under anesthesia, we will conduct a complete oral examination (tooth by tooth) and charting.
Next, the teeth are cleaned and polished (including under the gum line) and x-rays are taken. We then apply a fluoride treatment to each tooth.
The final step is to apply a dental sealant to prevent plaque from attaching to the enamel. If advanced periodontal disease is found, the veterinarian will develop a treatment plan and discuss it with you.
If your cat or dog requires specialized dental care, we can refer them to a veterinary dentist.
Ideally, a follow-up examination will be scheduled two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment.
During this visit, we will discuss implementing teeth brushing at home. We can also recommend products that can help improve your pet's oral health.
FAQs About Pet Dental Care
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we've received from patients about pet dental care.
- Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
As a consequence of poor oral health, our pets can suffer from tooth decay or periodontal disease.
Similar to humans, when animals eat, plaque attacks their teeth and can build up into tartar if not brushed away regularly.
This may lead to infections in the mouth, tooth decay, periodontal disease and even loose or missing teeth. That's why regular dental care is vital to preventing gum disease or pain in that area.
- How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Were you aware that your pet's behavior may indicate oral health issues? If your pet is experiencing dental problems, you may notice them pawing at their teeth or mouth and they may stop grooming sufficiently. They might also drool excessively (and there may be pus or blood in the drool), yawn more than usual or grind their teeth.
Other signs of oral health issues include tooth discoloration, bad breath and swollen gums. Some pets may even experience pain that prevents them from eating. Find out more about symptoms under Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams on this page.
- What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?
Besides causing problems ranging from cavities and bad breath to severe periodontal disease, oral health issues and conditions can lead to disease in the liver, kidney, heart, and other areas throughout your pet's body.
Cysts or tumors may develop. Your pet may also not feel well in general (if you've ever had a toothache, you know how it can affect your mood!). In addition, diseases related to oral health conditions can shorten the lifespan of your pet and cause significant pain.
This is why regular dental care is so essential to animals' physical health and wellbeing.
- What happens during a pet teeth cleaning appointment?
During your pet’s regular oral exam, the vet will examine his or her mouth and look for oral health conditions or any symptoms needing treatment.
The vet will clean tartar and other debris from your cat's or dog's teeth. If cavities, gingivitis, or other conditions need to be addressed, the vet will explain these to you and provide advice on which actions you should take.
In some cases, surgery will be needed to treat serious conditions. Your pet will be provided with anesthesia before their dental procedure to ensure they are comfortable and do not experience any pain. However, special care will be needed post-surgery.
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a dental appointment with us.
- What should I do at home to keep my pet’s teeth clean between dental appointments?
At home, you should brush your pet's teeth on a regular basis and give them dental chew toys. These will help eliminate plaque.
Do not allow them to chew on things that will damage their teeth, such as bones, toys or objects that are too hard. Always contact your vet with any questions or concerns regarding your pet's oral health.
Veterinary Dentistry: Anesthesia & Your Pet's Oral Health
Since cats and dogs do not understand what is happening during dental procedures, they'll often react by biting or struggling.
Like the anesthesia human dentists provide to their anxious or nervous patients, our vets in Houston County provide anesthesia to all of our patients prior to performing dental procedures. This puts less stress on animals and allows us to X-ray their mouth as required.