Dental care for your pet is just as important as it is for every person. Without regular brushing or oral care, plaque builds up on a pet's teeth. Plaque allowed to build up on the tooth surface and around the gums can cause gum disease. The bacteria in dental plaque irritates the gums and can lead to infection in the bone around the teeth. Deposits from plaque help form hard dental tartar which can start to form within a few days on a tooth surface that is not routinely kept clean. The tartar provides a rough surface that enhances further plaque accumulation. Once it has begun to grow in thickness, tartar is difficult to remove without a thorough dental cleaning.

Irritated gums form plaque and tartar accumulation cause the gums to bleed, creating an opening for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. The bacteria travels throughout the bloodstream and can negatively impact the heart, kidneys and liver. In addition to systemic problems poor dental health will eventually cause visible symptoms in your pet. Bad breath is usually the first complaint by pet owners. Other symptoms include blood tinged saliva, oral pain, loss of appetite and dropping food while eating.

A thorough dental cleaning by a licensed Veterinary professional will help get your pet feeling better. Our dental cleanings are equivalent to a periodontal cleaning for humans and are completed under general anesthesia. The dental procedure consists of a complete oral exam, probing along and under the gum line, accurate oral charting, ultrasonic scaling, polishing and applying a barrier sealant.  Dental radiographs are also taken to help diagnose hidden problems, as 66% (two-thirds) of the tooth is below gumline. Diseased teeth may need periodontal treatment, extraction, or referral to a Veterinary dental specialist may be recommended for endodontic treatment.  Your Veterinarian will discuss these options with you if they are indicated.  You will be educated during the discharge appointment on preventative care to continue at home for your pet.

Click here to see our detailed picture booklet explaining your pet's dentistry procedure!

Common FAQs Regarding Canine and Feline Dental Procedures

Q:  Why can’t my pet’s teeth be cleaned without anesthesia?

A:  Anesthesia-free dentistry does not allow for probing or thorough examination of ALL teeth in the mouth…cats have 30 teeth and dogs have 42!!  It also does not allow for dental radiographs (xrays) to be taken.  Avoiding these critical procedures can mean that significant disease below the gumline can be missed and not treated correctly.  Also, when a patient is intubated under anesthesia, the endotracheal tube prevents harmful bacteria from getting into the respiratory tract during cleaning.

Q:  Why are dental xrays necessary?

A:  Dental radiographs (xrays) are part of a complete oral exam and assessment.  Two thirds of the total size of each tooth is under the gumline, and cannot be visualized without radiographs.  This means that up to two thirds of the disease in the mouth may be missed if radiographs are not performed.  A tooth may look “normal” above the gumline, but the radiographs reveal otherwise!

Q:  Why does my pet have to arrive so early in the morning for his/her procedure?

A:  All patients who will be anesthetized on a given day are asked to arrive early to the hospital for pre-op procedures including bloodwork, placement of IV catheters, and physical exams.  A custom anesthetic protocol is then created for each individual patient.  Only then is the patient order of operation determined.  Typically the sterile surgical procedures are performed first followed by the dental procedures, but this is not always the case.  We insure that patients are resting comfortably and quietly in their cages in the surgical ward of the hospital, even if it is for several hours prior to their procedure.

Q:  Why did it take so long to extract one tooth?

A:  Tooth extractions, especially when a tooth is not loose to begin with, are oral surgical procedures.  Proper surgical techniques to access and remove a tooth are utilized.  First, a gingival flap (incision in the gums) is made over the affected tooth.  Next, any multi-rooted teeth must be sectioned into individual pieces.  Surrounding alveolar bone is removed with a high-speed bur.  Dental elevators are used to then loosen the tooth and carefully extract it.  A 3-rooted tooth is like performing 3 separate extractions!  Post-extraction radiographs are taken to insure that all parts of the tooth were removed successfully.  The dental socket is then smoothed and irrigated and the gingival flap is closed with absorbable suture.  With all this, it is not unusual for a single tooth extraction to take an hour or longer, just for the extraction itself!

Q:  How will my pet eat after he/she has had so many teeth extracted?

A:  Most pets with periodontal disease and painful teeth are not really using these teeth to chew their food anyway.  Many of them are swallowing their dry food whole, chewing on the opposite side of the mouth from the affected tooth/teeth, or refusing to eat dry food at all.  Once these painful teeth are removed they actually have an easier time eating and some of them even use their now healthy gums to soften and chew their kibbles!  If absolutely necessary a pets’ kibble can be moistened with water or broth, or they can be fed canned food.


Dental home care helps keep a pet's mouth free of pain and infection. Our team stresses the importance of daily brushing, proper diet and disease prevention. Your pet's mouth will be clean and polished after our dental team assesses and treats diseased gums and teeth.


Click Here for video instructions on how to brush your dogs teeth

Click here for video instructions on how to brush your cats teeth

See what our clients are saying about their pet dentals!

"My rescue dog Nibbles has had her teeth cleaned twice now. Prior to having them done her breath was very strong. They did find a couple of teeth each time that needed to be extracted. Both times they took excellent care of her and followed up to see how she was the next day. I highly recommend having dental work done as a regular part of your dogs health routine." 

-Christine Archung

"I have two dogs who recently had their teeth cleaned at Fairmount Animal Hospital. Staff is wonderful and very caring with animals. One of my dogs had another procedure done at same time. Staff called to follow up. They also called to discuss a couple of things with me they found during the cleaning. And best of all - my dogs teeth look nice and their breath smells better!" 

-Kathy Fay


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