Dentistry: more than just "teeth cleaning"

Our goal for dental care is to provide our patients with a mouth free of pain and infection. Did you know “doggy breath” is actually a sign of dental disease? The bad smell comes from the bacteria that live on the teeth and below the gumline. Our dental procedures are all done under general anesthesia, allowing us to clean the teeth thoroughly above and below the gumline, where the gingivitis-causing bacteria live.

The importance of dental radiographs

Because they can’t tell us which teeth hurt, we take dental radiographs (x-rays) of each tooth. We also carefully probe around each tooth and note any pockets, fractures, or resorptive lesions on the crowns. Using the findings from our examination and radiographs, we can then decide if any teeth need to be extracted.

Tooth extractions and oral surgery

Because dogs and cats have teeth with multiple roots, and sometimes these roots are very large, extracting a tooth is often not as simple as “pulling a tooth” and is more like oral surgery. We will make surgical incisions, use a dental drill, and suture the gums when necessary. We provide a complimentary follow-up visit one week after any extractions so we can make sure the mouth is healing well.

​When we do have to remove teeth, we use local anesthesia (nerve blocks) in conjunction with our general anesthesia. This allows us to use less anesthetic gas, so your pet is not as “deep” during the dental procedure. It also helps our patients wake up more comfortably. We send home pain medications after all of our dental extractions.

Dental estimates

If we identify dental disease on our physical exam, we can provide you with an estimate for a dental procedure. All of our dental estimates will include the anesthesia, dental radiographs, scaling and polishing, and services associated with extractions if necessary (such as nerve blocks, suture, pain medications, and extraction price based on the anticipated complexity and length of the procedure). We will do our best to give you an estimate that matches your pet's needs, but the nature of dentistry is that we often don't know exactly what treatment will be needed until we've had a chance to examine the teeth in the anesthetized patient, and pair those findings with our dental radiographs. If we find that a pet needs significantly more treatment than we had thought, we will call you during the procedure to discuss the plan. Conversely, sometimes we are surprised by how healthy the tissues are once we've done a thorough cleaning, and in those cases we come in under budget!

Call Us To Schedule Your Pet's Dental Cleaning