Dental Cleaning in Dogs and Cats

It is estimated that over 2/3 of dogs over the age of three have a condition called periodontal disease, which is an inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth.  Periodontal disease starts as gingivitis caused by plaque and often progresses to involve the bony tooth sockets.  Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to painful tooth loss.



How will I know if my pet is due for a Dental Cleaning?

When rough tartar accumulates on the tooth surface and touches the gum line, it is time for a professional oral assessment, treatment, and prevention visit.  At your pet’s dental exam, your veterinarian will confirm that a dental cleaning is needed.



What Happens during a Professional Dental Cleaning Visit for my Dog?

A dental cleaning visit will include a thorough dental exam, teeth cleaning, and polishing to remove the tartar and periodontal disease-causing plaque.  This will be done while your pet is under general anesthesia.  Anesthesia is important to allow a tooth-by-tooth examination, including dental x-rays. A dental probe will be used to evaluate gum bleeding and periodontal pockets, where food can accumulate and decay if not properly cared for. When periodontal disease is advanced, it may not be possible to save the badly affected teeth, which may lead to extractions at the time of the cleaning or at a later time. 

The treatment your pet may require will be discussed with you after the cleaning, once each tooth and the gums have been checked.  Since it can be difficult to predict the extent of the dental disease in advance of the procedure, your veterinarian may contact you during the procedure to discuss any additional treatment that may be necessary. 




Dental x-rays on our pets are similar to those taken in humans.  An x-ray machine using a small amount of radiation, is used to see the inside of your pets teeth and those areas below the gum line that are hidden from view. 

Our pets simply can not tell us when their teeth are diseased, and some never show that they are in pain even though they are uncomfortable.  In many cases, x-rays are the only way for your veterinarian to know your pet has a serious dental problem that can be treated, relieving discomfort.  Cleaning your pet’s teeth without x-rays often results in the missed opportunities to improve the quality of life and the health of your pet.