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Teeth Cleaning: Most Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of cleaning my pet’s teeth?

Pets are just as prone to oral health issues as their owners. They can develop tooth decay, cavities, plaque, tartar and gum diseases if their teeth are not cleaned regularly, infections can occur, resulting in lost teeth. Pets with clean teeth are happier, healthier and more active than pet’s whose teeth are never cleaned.

What are the signs that my pet might have decaying or bad teeth and gums?

Pets with plaque and tartar build up and decaying teeth and gums often have terrible breath. Dogs and cats with mouth pain and oral diseases may stop eating as much and lose weight. If the teeth and gums are infected, you may notice excessive drooling and redness or puss upon inspecting your dog or cat’s mouth.

Should I worry about my pet’s teeth if he or she is still a puppy or kitten?

It is important to practice good oral hygiene on puppies and kittens as well as adult and senior pets. We recommend having your pet’s mouth, gums and teeth examined as soon as they are weaned or are a few months old. This helps start the oral hygiene process and gets your pet used to having his or her teeth cleaned and examined.

If dental cleaning is delayed by as little as three years, your pet could already have the beginnings of gingivitis and periodontal. If you maintain vigilance in having your pet’s teeth cleaned through his or her life, they will have less oral health problems as seniors.

What is the process of cleaning the tartar and plaque off my pet’s teeth?

The process of cleaning a dog or cat’s teeth is much the same as a human dental visit. Our veterinarian uses special tools to scrape the plaque and tartar off your pet’s teeth and below the gum line. This usually requires light sedation. After your pet’s teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, our veterinarian will polish your pet’s teeth to help slow the accumulation of future plaque and tartar.

Is there anything I can do at home to ensure my pet has healthy teeth and gums?

Yes. There are things you can do at home to keep your pet’s teeth clean and healthy between dental visits. There are toothbrushes and toothpastes that are designed specifically for pets, and our veterinarian can give you tips, advice and instructions on brushing your pet’s teeth.

If you have never brushed your pet’s teeth, we recommend getting your dog or cat used to having his or her mouth, lips and gums touched. This can be done gradually over the course of a few weeks. When your pet is comfortable having their mouth touched, you can start cleaning their teeth with a piece of gauze, which gets them used to the sensation of having something moving across their teeth. Eventually, you will be able to brush your pet’s teeth on a weekly basis with very few problems.