Veterinary Dentistry & Dental Surgery
Caring for the Dental Health of Cats & Dogs
Routine dental care is a critical component of cats' and dogs' oral and overall health. Unfortunately, many pets don't get the oral hygiene care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy. We are here to help!
If your dog or cat's oral health isn't getting the proper attention it needs, your beloved dog or cat may experience painful dental issues and periodontal disease. While it is always best to try to prevent these concerns, if an issue does arise, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
At Voorhees Veterinary Center,our veterinarians provide complete dental care for cats and dogs. This can be anything from routine care, such as dental exams, teeth cleanings, and polishing, to dental X-rays and surgeries such as jaw fracture repair, tooth extraction, and gum disease treatment.
We also make a point of providing dental health education to pet owners about home dental care for their companions. Speak with our veterinarians to learn how you can care for your pet's oral health.
Veterinary Dental Surgery at Voorhees Veterinary Center
At Voorhees Veterinary Center, we ensure that your canine or feline friend's experience with us is comfortable and stress-free. We'll break down exactly what the process entails before the procedure, including preparation and post-operative care requirements.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Much like your annual checkup at the dentist, your dog or cat should come in for a dental examination at least once a year. Some breeds are prone to dental issues and may require more frequent visits.
Voorhees Veterinary Center can assess, diagnose and treat dental health problems in cats and dogs. A dental appointment at our veterinary clinic typically involves these elements:
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.
For any patients undergoing a dental procedure, the vet will always administer anesthesia. This will calm your pet so we can perform a thorough exam and cleaning, and take any necessary X-rays without causing your pet any stress.
Oral Examination & Cleaning
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.
Follow-Up Exam & Home Care
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 Veterinary Dental Care
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our clients about dental care for cats and dogs.
Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
Our pets can develop periodontal disease or tooth decay as a consequence of poor oral health.
Just like in humans, when animals eat, plaque sticks to their teeth and can build up into tartar if not brushed away regularly.
This can lead to infections in the mouth, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even loose or missing teeth. That's why regular dental care is essential to preventing pain or disease in the gums.
How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Did you know behavior may be an indication of oral health problems? If your pet is experiencing dental problems, they may drool excessively (and the drool may contain pus or blood), or you may notice them pawing at their mouth or teeth. They may also yawn excessively, grind their teeth, or stop grooming sufficiently.
The following is a comprehensive list of signs that may indicate a dental health problem:
- Tartar buildup
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Discolored teeth
What long-term problems can my pet develop due to poor oral health?
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 remain comfortable. We will perform a pre-anesthetic assessment to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a dental appointment at Voorhees Veterinary Center.
How can I 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.
Why does my pet require anesthesia for their dental appointment?
Cats and dogs aren't aware of what is going on during their dental procedure and may react by struggling or biting.
By administering anesthesia, we can put less stress on the animals, allowing us to examine their mouth and get them the care they need.
What dental issues may require dental surgery as treatment?
Some common oral health issues that may require dental surgery include cracked or broken teeth, tooth decay, severe gum disease (periodontitis), jaw fractures, TMD (temporomandibular disorder), luxation, or dysplasia feline stomatitis.