Dental Care for Cats & Dogs
Consistent dental care is an integral part of keeping your pet healthy, but many cats and dogs don't receive the oral health care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
At our Knightdale veterinary hospital, we provide a full range of dental care for your pet, from basic dental exams and teeth cleanings to surgeries.
We also make sure to give pet owners all the information they need to properly take care of their pet's dental care at home.
Dental Surgery in Knightdale
Dental surgery can be a scary thing to think about especially it's for your beloved pet. We do everything in our power to take the stress out of this process for you and your pet.
We'll do our part to make your pet's experience with us pleasant and relaxing. We'll clarify each step of the surgical process for you before we start and give you all the post-operative instructions to make recovery a breeze.
We offer jaw fracture repair surgeries, tooth extractions, and gum disease treatment for dogs and cats.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Much like your annual checkup at the dentist, your dog or cat should come in for a dental examination at least once a year. Pets who are more prone to dental problems than others may need to see us more often.
Smithfield Road Veterinary Hospital, PLLC 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
- Bad breath
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Discolored teeth
A thorough preanesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before the dental exam.
We may 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, the teeth are cleaned and polished (including under the gum line). We then apply a fluoride treatment to each tooth.
The final step is to apply a dental sealant to prevent plaque from attaching to the enamel. If advanced periodontal disease is found, the veterinarian will 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 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?
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 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?
Keep an eye on your pet's behavior because it's a really good indication of their health. 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.
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. 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 pet teeth cleaning appointments?
Throughout your pet's oral checkup, your vet will take a look at his or her mouth, checking for oral health issues and symptoms that need to be addressed.
The vet will remove 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 cases, surgery will be needed to treat serious conditions. Your pet will be provided with anesthesia before their dental procedure to ensure they are comfortable and do not experience any pain. However, special care will be needed post-surgery.
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
Unfortunately, we can't explain what's going on during a dental procedure to our cats and dogs, so they will often react by biting or struggling.
Just like what dentists give anxious patients, our Knightdale vets provide anesthesia to all of our pet patients before we go ahead with dental procedures. This allows for a more comfortable experience for your furry friend and allows us to examine their mouth as necessary.