Comprehensive Dental Care for Cats & Dogs
While routine pet dental care is a vital component of oral and overall health for cats and dogs, most pets don't receive the oral hygiene care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
At our Sacramento veterinary hospital, we offer veterinary dental services for your pet, from basics including 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.
Pet Dental Surgery in Sacramento
We understand that learning that your pet requires dental surgery can be unsettling. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible, for both you and your pet.
We'll do everything in our power to ensure your pet's time with us is easy and comfortable. We'll explain each step of the process to you in detail before the procedure, including any 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 checkup with the dentist, your cat or dog should see us for an annual dental examination at least once per year. Pets who are more susceptible to dental issues than others may need to come in more often.
The vets at Elkhorn-Walerga Animal Hospital can assess, diagnose and treat dental health problems in cats and dogs.
It's time for a dental checkup if you notice any of these symptoms in your pet.
- Bad breath
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Tartar buildup
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
Before conducting the dental exam, the vet will complete a thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment.
Blood and urine analyses will be taken to ensure your pet can safely undergo anesthesia. Additional diagnostics such as chest radiographs may also be conducted.
Once your pet is under anesthesia, we will conduct a complete oral examination (tooth by tooth) and charting.
During this step, the teeth and cleaned and polished (including beneath the gum line). X-rays are taken before a fluoride treatment is applied to each tooth.
Finally, the vet will apply a dental sealant to prevent plaque from attacking the enamel. If advanced periodontal disease is discovered, the veterinarian will develop a treatment plan and discuss it with you.
Ideally, a follow-up examination will be booked two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment.
During this session, we will discuss how to implement teeth brushing at home. We can also recommend products that may help to improve your pet's oral health.
FAQs About Pet Dental Care
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we've received from clients about pet dental care.
- 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 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.
Other signs of oral health problems include bad breath, swollen gums, and tooth discoloration. Some pets may even suffer from pain that keeps them from eating. Read more about symptoms to the left under Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams.
- 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 my pet's 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's happening during dental procedures, they will often react by biting or struggling.
Similar to the anesthesia offered to anxious or nervous patients by human dentists, our vets in Sacramento offer anesthesia to all of our patients before performing dental procedures. This puts less stress on the animals and allows us to X-ray their mouth as required.