While routine veterinary dentistry is an essential aspect of cats' and dogs' oral and general health, most pets don't receive the oral hygiene care they need to ensure their teeth and gums stay healthy.
At our veterinary hospital in Stockton, we offer complete dental care services for your pet, from basics including dental exams, teeth cleanings and polishing to dental X-rays and surgeries.
We are also passionate about educating pet owners about dental health and home dental care for their pets.
Veterinary Dentistry in Stockton
We understand it can be frightening to learn that your pet needs dental surgery. Our goal is to make this process as stress-free as possible, for you and your pet.
We'll do everything in our power to ensure your pet's experience with us is as easy and comfortable as possible. We'll explain each step of the process to you in detail prior to the procedure, including preparation and any post-operative care needs.
We offer tooth extractions and gum disease treatment for dogs and cats.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Similar to your annual checkup with the dentist, we should see your dog or cat for a yearly dental examination. Pets who are more prone to dental issues than others may need to see us more often.
Our vets at Bear Creek Veterinary Hospital can assess cats and dogs for dental health problems, then diagnose and treat them.
Have you noticed any of these symptoms in your pet? If so, it's time for a dental checkup.
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food from the mouth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Tartar buildup
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
Before your pet's dental exam, the veterinarian will complete a detailed pre-anesthetic physical assessment.
Blood and urine samples will be taken to make sure it's safe for your pet to have anesthesia. If required, additional diagnostics such as chest radiographs, dental X-rays, or an ECG may also be conducted.
The complete oral examination (tooth by tooth) and charting will be done once your pet is under anesthesia.
The vet will clean and polish your pet's teeth (including beneath the gum line) and take X-rays. We then apply a fluoride treatment to each tooth.
Finally, a dental sealant will be applied to keep plaque from attacking the enamel. If the veterinarian discovers advanced periodontal disease, they will develop a treatment plan and explain it to you.
A follow-up examination will typically be scheduled about one week after the initial assessment and treatment appointment.
During this visit, we can explain how to implement tooth brushing at home and recommend products to help improve your pet's oral health.
FAQs About Veterinary Dentistry
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our patients about pet dental care.
- Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
Our pets can develop periodontal disease or tooth decay as a consequence of poor oral health.
Just like in humans, when animals eat, plaque sticks to their teeth and can build up into tartar if not brushed away regularly.
This can lead to infections in the mouth, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even loose or missing teeth. That's why regular dental care is essential 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 pet teeth cleaning appointments?
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.
In some cases, surgery will be needed to treat serious conditions. Your pet will be provided with anesthesia before their dental procedure to ensure they are comfortable and do not experience any pain. However, special care will be needed post-surgery.
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: How Anesthesia is Used for Pets
Since cats and dogs do not understand what is happening during dental procedures, they will often react by biting or struggling.
Like the anesthesia offered to nervous or anxious patients by human dentists, our vets in Stockton provide anesthesia to each of our patients before performing dental procedures. This puts less stress on the animals and lets us X-ray their mouths as needed.