Veterinary Dentistry at Petaluma Veterinary Hospital

Veterinarian doing dentistry at Petaluma Veterinary Hospital.

Why is dental care so important?

Pets have dental diseases and problems just like people do. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats suffer from dental disease by age three. This makes periodontal disease the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets today.

Luckily, you can avoid these problems through annual dental checkups and cleaning at Petaluma Veterinary Hospital-- and by using good dental Hygiene at home. You know how important your own dental health is, so don’t forget to make the dental health of your pet a priority as well.


What we do at Petaluma Veterinary Hospital

We do dental exams using digital x-rays, (to find problems/disease below the gum line), dental cleaning and tooth extractions.


Dental care at home

We can show you how to brush your pet’s teeth, and can recommend brushes, toothpaste, foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.


Combine dental with annual exam visits

Pet dental appointments can be more affordable and convenient if you schedule them with your annual pet exam appointment. This can help avoid spending money on expensive dental care down the line that may become necessary due to poor dental health.


The results of no dental care

Unchecked bacteria and food debris accumulating around the teeth can lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and the bone surrounding the teeth. The decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.

Fractured teeth, gingivitis, and infections are some of the most common forms of dental complications with pets. There are also diseases specific to cats and dogs that your pet may suffer from, such as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions which destroy healthy oral tissue.
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Ocassionally bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly, they can result in death.


​​​​​​​Dental cleaning for cats

Dental disease is a primary health concern for cats, with around 70% of felines aged over 3 experiencing some form of dental problem. Between 4-6 months of age kittens lose their baby teeth and develop permanent teeth. Once the permanent ones are present your cat should have around 30 teeth. Some of the symptoms of dental disease in cats include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • ​​​​​​​Bad breath
  • Decreased appetite
  • Discolored teeth
  • Blood in the saliva
  • Bleeding, red or swollen gums
  • Weight loss
  • Receding gums
  • Broken or missing teeth


The cleaning process for cats

More thanm70% of cats suffer from dental disease by age three, so dental prophylaxis, (teeth clean and polish), is the most routine dental treatment performed on cats. It usually takes around 60 minutes with no need for your cat to stay with us afterwards.

All dental work requires a general anesthetic, but the risks are minimal. Once your cat is under sedation, we will perform an oral examination before commencing with cleaning and polishing. If any digital x-rays or extractions are required then we will do them at this time after discussing with you.

It is vitally important for you to carry on your cat’s dental care at home. There are a variety of brushing kits available that usually include a finger brush, small pet toothbrush and special toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste on your pets’ teeth. Make brushing your cats’ teeth an integral part of their daily routine to ensure that you are providing the best preventative care possible.Dental Care Guidelines


Dental cleaning for dogs

More than 80% of dogs suffer from dental disease by age three due to a lack of proper cleaning. Symptoms of oral health care in dogs include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Inflamed or red gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Cysts under the tongue
  • Tumours in the gum
  • Particularly bad breath


The cleaning process for dogs.

​​​​​​​The process for dogs is the same as for cats. Anesthesia is used to keep the pet calm and avoid injury. Brushing your dogs’ teeth as a part of their regular daily routine can help prevent the onset of oral decay. There are plenty of canine brushing kits available, or alternatively you could use gauze wrapped around your fingers. Again, make sure you purchase special pet toothpaste as human toothpaste can make them very sick. Talk to our veterinarianswith any questions of for more information.


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