Comprehensive Dental Care for Cats & Dogs
Routine dental care is a key aspect of dogs' and cats' oral and overall health throughout their lives. However, most pets don't actually get the oral hygiene care they need in order to keep their teeth and gums in good health.
At our veterinary hospital serving the Lincoln Park area, we are proud to be able to provide exceptional dental care for your pet, from the basics like checkups and cleanings to dental X-rays and surgical procedures.
We also make a point of providing dental health education to pet owners about home dental care for their pets.
Dental Surgery in Lincoln Park
We know that finding out your pet needs dental surgery can be an overwhelming experience. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible for both you and your pet.
We'll do everything we can to make sure that your pet's experience with us is as comfortable and easy as possible. We will make sure to break down each step of the process with you in detail before starting the procedure. This includes preparation and post-operative care requirements.
We offer jaw fracture repair surgeries, tooth extractions, and gum disease treatment for dogs and cats.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Just like your own annual checkup with your dentist, your cat or dog generally requires a dental examination and checkup at least once every year. Pets who are more prone to dental health issues than others may need to see us more often than that.
Dix 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.
- Bad breath
- Tartar buildup
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Discolored teeth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
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 comprehensive oral examination on each tooth and charting.
Next, the teeth are cleaned and polished (including under the gum line) and x-rays are taken. We then apply a fluoride treatment to each tooth.
The last step in the process is to apply a dental sealant in order to prevent plaque from attaching itself to your pet's enamel. If we detect advanced periodontal disease in your pet, our vets will be happy to develop a treatment plan and discuss it with you.
Ideally, a follow-up examination will be scheduled two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment.
During this follow-up visit, our vets will speak with you about implementing tooth brushing at home. We are also happy to recommend products that can help to improve your pet's oral health in addition to that, including specially formulated dental food, dental chews and more.
FAQs About Cat and Dog 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?
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 may lead to serious infections in your pet's mouth, periodontal disease, tooth decay and even missing teeth. Because of this, routine dental care is critical to preventing disease and pain in your pet's mouth.
- 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.
Some other signs of oral health issues include swollen gums, tooth discolorations and bad breath. Some pets may even suffer from pain so significant that it stops 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 a pet 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 instances, dental surgery may be required to treat serious conditions. Your pet will be provided with anesthesia before their dental procedure to help ensure that they are comfortable and aren't experiencing any pain. That being said, they will certainly require some special post-operative care from you once they are able to return home.
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
Dogs and cats don't know what is happening when they undergo dental procedures. Often, they will react negatively to people touching their mouths by struggling or even biting.
Similar to the anesthesia provided to anxious or nervous patients by dentists, your dog or cat will be given anesthesia by the vets at our Lincoln Park animal hospital before performing any dental procedure on them. This places less stress on your pet and allows us to X-ray their mouths and operate as needed.