Veterinary Dentistry & Dental Surgery
Dental Care for Pets
One essential component of cats' and dogs' oral and overall health is routine dental care, but most pets don't get the oral hygiene care they need to ensure their teeth and gums remain healthy.
At our Novato animal hospital, we offer complete dental care for your pet, from basics including dental exams, teeth cleanings and polishing, to dental X-Rays and surgeries.
We are also passionate about educating our clients about dental health and how to implement home dental care for your pet.
Dental Surgery in Novato
We understand that learning that your pet needs dental surgery can feel daunting. We aim to make this process as stress-free as possible, for you for your pet.
We'll do everything in our power to ensure your pet's experience with us is easy and comfortable. We'll explain each step of the process to you thoroughly before the procedure, including preparation and post-operative care requirements.
We offer tooth extractions, gum disease and jaw fracture repair surgeries for dogs and cats.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Like your annual checkup with the dentist, your dog or cat should see us for a dental examination at least once each year. Pets who are more susceptible to dental issues than others may need to come in more often.
Bel Marin Animal Hospital can evaluate, 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
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Discolored teeth
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 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) and x-rays are taken. 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?
Tooth decay or periodontal disease can develop in our pets as a consequence of poor oral health.
Similar to humans, plaque sticks to animals' teeth when they eat and can build up into tartar (calculus) if not regularly brushed away. This can cause infections in the mouth, tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even loose or missing teeth. This is why regular dental care is critical to preventing disease or pain in the gums.
- How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Did you know behavior can indicate oral health problems? If your pet is experiencing dental issues, they may drool excessively (and the drool may contain blood or pus), or you might notice them pawing at their teeth or mouth. They may also stop grooming sufficiently, yawn excessively or grind their teeth.
Other signs of oral health issues include tooth discoloration, swollen gums and bad breath. Some pets may even suffer from pain that prevents them from eating. Read more about symptoms under Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams.
- What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?
Besides leading to problems ranging from bad breath and cavities to severe gum disease, oral health problems and conditions can lead to disease in the heart, liver, kidney and other areas in your pet's body.
Tumors and cysts may develop and your pet may not feel well generally (if you've ever had a toothache, you know it can greatly impact your mood!). Diseases related to oral health conditions can also shorten your pet's lifespan and cause significant pain.
That's why regular dental care is so critical to animals' physical health and well-being.
- What happens during a pet teeth cleaning appointment?
The veterinarian will check your pet's mouth during the regular oral exam to identify any oral health conditions or any symptoms that may require treatment.
The vet will clear tartar and other debris from your dog's or cat's teeth. If gingivitis, cavities or other conditions need to be addressed, the veterinarian will review these with you and provide advice about what you should do next.
In some cases, surgery will be required to treat serious conditions. Before their dental procedure, we will provide your pet with anesthesia to ensure they stay comfortable and do not experience any pain. That said, special care will be needed post-surgery.
If you see any of these symptoms, book a dental appointment with us.
- What should I do at home to keep my pet’s teeth clean between dental appointments?
Brush your pet's teeth regularly and give them dental chew toys at home to help get rid of plaque.
Do not allow your pet to chew on items that will damage your teeth, such as toys, bones or objects that are too hard. Always contact your vet if you have any questions or concerns about your pet's oral health.
Veterinary Dentistry: Anesthesia & Your Pet's Oral Health
Because dogs and cats do not understand what is going on during dental procedures, they will often react to dental procedures by biting or struggling.
Much like the anesthesia dentists provide to anxious or nervous patients, our vets in Novato provide anesthesia to all of our patients prior to performing dental procedures. This puts less stress on animals and allows us to X-Ray their mouth as required.