Pet Dental FAQs
Q: How often do pets need their teeth examined by a vet?
A: Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by a veterinarian or sooner if your pet develops any of the following:
Broken or loose teeth
Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
Discoloured teeth (yellow, brown, black)
Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food
Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
Pain in or around the mouth
Bleeding from the mouth
Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
Chronic ear infections
Q: What is involved in a pet dental cleaning?
A: Every dental appointment includes a 10 step cleaning process:
General exam before anesthesia
The vet checks your pet’s overall health, evaluates their bite, looks for abnormal wear patterns, gum infections, and oral cancer.
Oral examination under anesthesia
Now that your pet's napping, we can get a really good look at your pet’s mouth.
Removes tartar from the visible part of the teeth to make them nice and white.
Subgingival scaling, root planning, and curettage.
We go below the gum line to get to the heart of where dental disease hides out.
Restore the tooth enamel to a smooth surface to get those pearly whites shining!
Irrigation of periodontal pockets
We use distilled water to rinse out any gross stuff left over from the scraping.
360-degree periodontal x-rays
This gives us a full view of your pet’s mouth to identify any underlying issues we can’t see with the naked eye.
Vet findings & recommendations
The doctor will take this opportunity to discuss any areas of concern, review the treatment options or care plan for your pet.
Discharge with your technician/hygienist
Your technician will walk you through the home care instructions. They will also discuss at home oral hygiene options.
Q: I can't commit to brushing my pet's teeth daily. What else can I do to keep their teeth healthy?
A: We totally understand that it is not possible for everyone to brush their pet's teeth every day! Here are some things you can do instead:
Feed a diet specifically formulated for dental health
Ditch the brush. Enzymatic toothpaste just needs to touch the teeth, scrubbing is not required.
If you can't get your pet to take a toothbrush & toothpaste, try a cleansing gel.
Save your fingers and use a dental water additive
Incorporate annual cleanings into your pet's health care plan
Combine any of the above with regular veterinary exams for optimal dental health.
Q: Can't I just give my dog dental treats?
A: You can make dental health more fun by giving dental treats and toys in addition to regular check ups. Remember these treats will add calories, so adjust your pet's meal sizes accordingly.
*A rule of thumb for toys: If you can’t bend it easily with your hands, it’s too hard for your pet to chew!!
Q: Are certain breeds more susceptible to dental issues?
A: Small dogs, toy breeds and cats are notorious for having dental issues.
• They chew less
• They live longer
• Their teeth have shorter roots
• And are more crowded
Many have a genetic predisposition to dental problems so, small dogs, toy breeds and cats should have their first cleaning for their first birthday and regularly throughout their lifetime.
Q: What is the difference between plaque, tarter and dental disease?
A: As your dog or cat eats, various mineral salts, organic material and food particles builds up on teeth.
At first the material is soft which we call plaque.
If left on the teeth, plaque hardens and sticks to the teeth. This is tartar.
Tarter builds up and irritates the gums and they retreat in fear ("recedes" if you want to get technical)
The breath becomes very smelly.
Teeth start to wiggle
The mouth gets infected which can spread to the throat, and into the blood stream causing heart, kidney and liver issues.
This is dental disease.