Dental Care for Your Pets
Routine dental care is a critical component of cats' and dogs' oral and overall health, but most pets don't get the oral hygiene care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
At our Springfield veterinary hospital, we provide comprehensive pet dental care that ranges from teeth cleanings to surgeries.
We also make a point of providing dental health education to pet owners about how to care for their pet's teeth at home and between visits.
Dental Surgery in Springfield
We understand that finding out that your pet needs dental surgery can be overwhelming. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible, for both you and your pet.
We'll do everything we can to ensure your pet's experience with us is comfortable and easy. We'll break down each step of the process to you in detail before the procedure, including preparation and post-operative care requirements.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Pets who are more prone to dental problems than others may need to see us more often, but generally, your dog or cat should come in for a dental examination at least once a year.
Greenbrier-Springfield Animal Hospital can assess, diagnose and treat dental health problems in cats and dogs.
If you notice any of the following symptoms in your pet, it's time for a dental checkup.
- Tartar buildup
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food from the mouth
- Discolored teeth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
A thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before the dental exam.
We will take blood and urine analyses to ensure it's safe for your pet to undergo anesthesia. Additional diagnostics, such as chest radiographs or an ECG may also be conducted.
Once your pet is under anesthesia, we will conduct a complete oral examination (tooth by tooth) and charting.
Next, we clean and polish the teeth (including under the gumline) and take X-rays. We then apply a fluoride treatment to each tooth.
In the final step, we apply a dental sealant to prevent plaque from attaching to the enamel. If advanced periodontal disease is found, we will develop treatment options for your pet to discuss with you.
Ideally, a followup examination will be scheduled two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment.
During this visit, we will discuss implementing teeth brushing at home. We can also recommend products that can help improve your pet's oral health.
FAQs about Pet Dental Care
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our patients about pet dental care.
- Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
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?
If your pet is experiencing dental problems, they may 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.
- 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 parts of your pet's body.
There could be a chance that cysts or tumors develop, and 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 pet teeth cleaning appointments?
During your pet’s regular oral exam, the vet will examine their 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 what the next steps are.
Your pet may need surgery to treat serious conditions, but they will be provided with anesthesia before the dental procedure to ensure they are comfortable and not in pain. However, special care will be needed post-surgery.
- 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
Cats and dogs do not understand what is going on during dental procedures, so they may react with violence, including biting.
Similar to the anesthesia provided to nervous or anxious patients by dentists, our Springfield vets provide anesthesia to all of our patients before performing dental procedures. This puts less stress on the animals and allows us to X-ray their mouths as needed.
New Patients Welcome
Greenbrier-Springfield Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Springfield companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.