Dental Month

The incidence of Dental Disease

  • 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease by the age of 3, and this will only worsen if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Preventive care can help protect your pet and catch problems before they become more serious.
  • Most pet dental disease occurs below the gums, where you can’t see it. Your pet should have a dental exam at least once a year.

Consequences of Dental Disease

  • Left untreated, dental disease isn’t just bad for your pet’s teeth; it can actually damage internal organs, including the heart, liver, and kidneys. That’s why regular dental exams are so important.

Prevention and Dental Care

  • Brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective means to maintain dental health between professional dental cleanings.
  • Routine dental cleanings help prevent periodontal disease and allow a complete oral exam that can detect hidden health problems.
  • Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian. Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:
    • bad breath
    • broken or loose teeth
    • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
    • abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food from the mouth
    • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
    • pain in or around the mouth
    • bleeding from the mouth
    • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth


  • I know it’s scary when you go under anesthesia yourself, and putting a child or a pet under anesthesia is understandably just as, or more, scary. But anesthesia now is safer than it ever was before. Any pet that is put under anesthesia in our clinic is thoroughly examined first, and we’ll talk to you about anything we find that could cause a risk for your pet while under anesthesia. While your pet is under anesthesia, we perform the same monitoring that they do on you if you’re put under anesthesia.
  • Anesthesia for dental cleanings allows us to do a thorough exam of your pet’s teeth and mouth. Since most problems occur below the gum line, they’re difficult to detect. If your pet is awake and – understandably – resisting a thorough exam, a problem might be missed. And that’s not in your pet’s best interest.
  • Anesthesia for dental cleanings also protects your pet because they don’t feel any discomfort.
  • Anesthesia keeps your pet from moving around during the procedure, which reduces their risk of injury. If you’ve ever been accidentally poked during a dental cleaning, you know how it feels. But you also know that what’s happening is for your health, so you try to stay still. Your pet doesn’t know that, so they react by pulling away or even trying to bite, and this can increase the risk of injury to your pet as well as our staff.


  • Even with annual exams, it really costs a lot less to prevent dental disease than to treat it after there’s a problem. A 2013 analysis by VPI Pet Insurance put the average cost of prevention at only one-third the average cost of treating dental disease.

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