Veterinary Dentist for Cats & Dogs
While routine dental care is a vital component of cats' and dogs' oral and overall health, most pets don't get the oral hygiene care they need to make sure their teeth and gums stay healthy.
At our veterinary hospital in Tumwater, you'll find complete dental care services for your pet, from basics such as dental exams, teeth cleanings and polishing, to dental X-Rays.
We are also passionate about providing dental health education to pet owners about the importance of home dental care for their pets.
Pet Dental Care in Tumwater
We understand bringing your pet in for even routine dental care can feel overwhelming. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible, for you and 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 in detail prior to the procedure.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Similar to your annual checkup at the dentist, your dog or cat should see us for a dental examination at least once per year. Pets who are more susceptible to dental problems than others may need to come in more often.
The vets at Tumwater Veterinary Hospital 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.
- Bad breath
- Tartar buildup
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Discolored teeth
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
Before the dental exam, your vet will complete a thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment for your pet.
We will take blood and urine analyses to make sure it's safe for your pet to have 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) 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 easily become an issue if our pets have poor oral health.
Similar to humans, when animals eat, plaque attacks their teeth and can build up into tartar if not regularly brushed away.
This may lead to infections in the mouth, tooth decay, periodontal diseases and even loose or missing teeth. That's why regular dental care is critical to preventing pain or disease in the gums.
- How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Did you know behavior may be an indication of oral health problems? 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 a pet teeth cleaning appointment?
During your pet’s regular oral exam, the vet will examine his or her mouth and look for oral health conditions or any symptoms needing treatment.
The vet will clean 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.
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
Our pets do not understand what is going on during dental procedures, and will often react to dental procedures by biting or struggling.
Just like a human dentist sometimes provide anesthesia to nervous or anxious patients, our vets in Tumwater provide anesthesia to all of our patients before performing dental procedures. This puts less stress on the animals and allows us to X-Ray their mouth.