Dental Health

Dog's canine tooth with plaque along the gum line

Dental Health Begins at Home

Dental health for pets begins at home with regular brushing. Some of our clients or their groomers scale built-up tartar off pets’ teeth, too.

But brushing and scaling are not enough. In fact, scaling without professional polishing creates micro-fissures in the teeth where plaque can adhere, leading to even more tartar build-up.

A professional dental cleaning , done under anesthesia, allows all surfaces of the pet’s teeth to be scaled, polished and examined for defects. We also examine the gums, tongue and the rest of the oral cavity and take full-mouth x-rays to examine teeth below the gum line. The part of the tooth showing above the gums–the crown–can look great, while there can be serious issues going on with the roots.

For more information about your pet’s dental health, including helpful home-care products that really work, we recommend the Veterinary Oral Health Council web site. Products with the VOHC Seal of Approval produce the best results and are safe for your pet. Several of these products are available at our online store.

For a professional cleaning, contact us now to schedule an appointment. February is Dental Health Month, so we are offering a 10% discount off our regular price plus a free dental goody bag to take home. Spaces are limited, so call today.

A spaniel panting

Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

We are offering a 10% discount for dental cleanings in February and sending home a free home dental care kit! All clients who schedule dental procedures in February will also be entered in a raffle to win an interactive pet toy. 

The 10% discount applies to the dental cleaning and polishing and any needed extractions. The goody bag contains all you need for continuing dental care at home–a toothbrush, specially formulated toothpaste for pets, dental treats and chews and dental rinse.

We have set aside 32 appointments for dental procedures in February. Nearly half have already been booked. To take advantage of the Dental Health Month discount and receive your home care goody bag, call our office today to schedule a dental cleaning.

Photo of a dog licking toothpaste off a man's finger

Dental Health Month 2017 Ends Tuesday!

Here we are, nearly all the way through National Pet Dental Health Month, and all our available dental appointments are filled. We’ve even extended the discount through the first couple of weeks of March to meet the demand!

Thanks so much to  our clients who care enough about their pets’ health to schedule a dental cleaning! They will receive a 10% discount and, while supplies last, a “dental goodie bag.”

We also offer a 10% discount off dental cleanings year-round if, during an annual wellness exam, we recommend a dental cleaning and you schedule an appointment for your pet within 30 days. The goodie bags are available only in February (and until we run out in March), but we offer the discount to encourage excellent dental health care every month of the year.

The benefits of the dental procedure in our office can be supplemented by home-care. To give you an idea of what’s involved, here’s a short video about dental home-care for dogs from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University.

Here’s one about how to brush your cat’s teeth.

For your convenience, we carry the dental health care products shown in both videos in our online store.

Brownsburg Animal Clinic dental procedure

Cal’s Dental Procedure

With all of February dedicated to dental health care for pets, I want to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my own boxer—General Stubs Calhoun—and his recent visit to the clinic for a dental cleaning and exam. I hope this post will not only answer any questions you may have about what goes on during a dental procedure, but also show you that I personally consider dental health care essential for all pets, including my own.

Cal turned seven this past July. It had been two years since his last dental cleaning.

As a boxer, Cal is at higher-than-average risk for a condition called gingival hyperplasia, causing his gums to proliferate and grow so extensively as to cover his teeth. Cal has this condition, so in addition to cleaning his teeth two years ago, we did a gingival resection, in which we removed the excess gum tissue in several areas of his mouth. He recovered very nicely and had been doing just fine.

But several months ago, we noticed Cal was not chewing his rawhides the way he used to, and he had a slightly pungent odor to his breath. I did a physical exam, finding a little tartar and a few areas of gingival hyperplasia. I didn’t see any obvious signs of abscessed teeth. Still, I knew something was wrong, so I decided to bring him in for a complete dental exam, including full-mouth dental radiographs (x-rays).

The procedure started with the necessary preanesthetic blood work to make sure Cal had no underlying health issues that might make anesthesia too risky. Once we had Cal under anesthesia, we did our radiographs and found several fractured teeth. The fractures were below the gum line, so there was no way to see them–even with a regular dental cleaning and probing–without the x-rays.

We extracted the cracked teeth and resected the overgrown gums. We scaled and polished the remaining teeth.

Cal has recovered very well. He did need to eat a soft diet for about 10 days, but after that, resumed eating his usual dry kibbles. And he’s back to enjoying his rawhides!

I understand it can be a little scary to consider putting an older pet like Cal under anesthesia for a dental cleaning. That’s why we take measures to minimize the risks.

  • We require blood work within the past six months to be sure all organs are functioning well and able to handle the medications we use.
  • We use the safest anesthesia available.
  • All pets have intravenous catheters and receive fluids throughout the procedure.
  • While one technician cleans the teeth and makes the x-rays, another focuses throughout the procedure on monitoring the patient’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, electrocardiogram, heart rate, blood pressure and temperature using monitoring equipment very similar to what you would find in a human hospital.

Still on the fence about scheduling your pet’s dental appointment? Here are some additional resources from the American Veterinary Medical Association, including links to a dental health quiz, videos to help you teach your pet to accept home tooth-brushing and even more information about the “whys” of dental health care for your companion animal.

If you are ready to schedule a professional cleaning, contact us now to schedule an appointment. Remember, February is Dental Health Month, so we are offering a 10% discount off our regular price plus a free dental goody bag to take home to all who schedule dental procedures in February. Spaces are limited, so call today.

A cat showing teeth

Dental Care at Home

As Dental Health Month draws to a close, there’s still time to schedule an appointment and receive a 10% discount on dental procedures for your pet.

You also receive a free home care kit when you pick up your pet.

We encourage you to make home dental care a habit!

Hands holding a dog's mouth open for examination

AVMA Video on Dental Health

The American Veterinary Medical Association has produced a good video overview of dental health for pets. It takes less than six minutes to watch, and is well worth the time!

Don’t forget our 10% discount off dental procedures during February. Call our office today to make your appointment. You’ll receive a free take-home dental care kit, too.