Dental problems are the most common health issue among US pets, affecting at least

70 to 80 percent of dogs and cats. Problems that develop in the mouth can seriously

affect the overall health of pets and could potentially affect quality of life, as well as


A pet’s bad breath can be a sign that your cat or dog may be developing dental problems, including the buildup of plaque and tartar. If ignored, many types of dental conditions are not only irreversible, but can eventually result in tooth loss or cause severe health issues.

Food material, bacteria and saliva accumulate and adhere to the tooth surface, forming a soft “plaque”. This material can be easily removed at this point. However, if buildup is allowed to continue, it becomes hard and “chalk-like” from its mineral content. The teeth then become loose and may even fall out. The gums become reddened, swollen and bleed easily. Pets will often salivate excessively from the associated pain.

The buildup of this material allows bacteria to constantly grow in the infected mouth tissue. These bacteria may enter the bloodstream through the bleeding gums and cause such problems as: heart valve infections and kidney infections.

Proper dental prophylaxis involves the following steps:

Laboratory Testing:
Enhances sedation safety and provides a prognosis of internal organ problems that can affect the health of your pet after the dental cleaning. As your pet grows older, internal organs begin to fail. Even though your pet seems to be in “good health”, blood testing often reveals sub-clinical problems that are treatable when caught in time.

Sedation is required since your pet will not “open wide”. Sedation also allows us to do a much more thorough job below the gum line, which, although unable to be seen, is where most of the real problem is located. The part of the tooth under the gum line must be cleaned, as well as the exposed portion to really help your pet long term. Our sedatives are chosen with your pet’s utmost safety in mind, and is dictated by age, weight and physical condition.

Scaling of the teeth:
To remove tartar above and below the gum line, scaling is done with both hand instruments and ultrasonic cleaning equipment.

Polishing of the teeth:
Just like using fine grit sandpaper after using coarse grit, we must polish the teeth to make the teeth smooth. Polishing after scaling is important to “smooth down” the surfaces and to make the teeth more resistant.

Antiseptic flushing:
It is important after polishing to rid the mouth of the ever-present bacteria so they do not invade the gums that were irritated during the cleaning. Solutions are actually flushed beneath the gum line to rid these germs.

Antibiotics are usually required in veterinary dentistry because teeth cleanings are not usually performed until tooth and gum disease is already present. Injectable antibiotics are used routinely. Oral medications are sometimes prescribed, depending upon the severity of infection.

Once the dental cleaning procedure has been completed, it is important that

you follow the dental hygiene recommendations made by Dr Joey to keep

your pet’s mouth as healthy as possible.