Comprehensive Pet Dental Care for Cats & Dogs
Though routine pet dental care is an essential component of cats' and dogs' oral and general health, most pets don't get the oral hygiene care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
At our veterinary hospital in Merced, you'll find complete dental care services for your pet, from basics such as teeth cleanings, polishing and dental exams to dental X-rays and surgeries.
We are also passionate about educating pet owners about home dental care for their pets.
Pet Dental Surgery in Merced
Learning that your pet needs dental surgery may feel daunting. That's why we strive to make this process as stress-free as possible for both you and your pet.
We'll do everything in our power to ensure your pet's experience with us is as comfortable and easy as possible. We'll discuss each step of the process to you in detail before the procedure, including preparation and post-operative care requirements.
We offer tooth extractions, gum disease treatment and jaw fracture repair surgeries for dogs and cats.
Cat & Dog Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Similar to your yearly checkup at the dentist, your dog should come in for a dental examination at least annually. Pets who are more susceptible to dental issues than others may need to see us more often.
Our veterinarians at Santa Fe Pet Hospital can assess, diagnose and treat dental health problems in dogs and cats.
It's time for a dental checkup if you notice your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms.
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Bad breath
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Tartar buildup
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Discolored teeth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
A thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before the dental exam.
We will take blood and urine analyses to ensure it's safe for your pet to undergo 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.
If your cat or dog requires specialized dental care, we can refer them to a veterinary dentist near Merced.
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 we've received from our patients about pet dental care.
- Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
If our pets have poor oral health, they can develop tooth decay or periodontal disease.
Plaque sticks to animals' teeth and can build up into tartar if not brushed away regularly, much like in humans.
This can lead to periodontal disease, infections in the mouth, tooth decay, and even loose or missing teeth that's why regular dental care is critical to preventing disease or pain in the gums.
- How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Your pet's behavior can indicate oral health issues. If your pet is experiencing dental problems, they may drool excessively (and the drool may contain blood or pus), or you may notice them pawing at their teeth or mouth. They might also grind their teeth, yawn excessively or stop grooming sufficiently.
Other symptoms of oral health problems include tooth discoloration, bad breath and swollen gums. Some pets may even suffer from pain that prevents them from eating. Find out more about symptoms under Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams on this page.
- What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?
Besides causing problems ranging from bad breath and cavities to severe periodontal disease, oral health conditions and issues can lead to disease in the kidneys, heart, liver and other areas of your pet's body.
Tumors or cysts may develop. Your pet may also feel generally unwell (if you've ever had a toothache, you understand how it can impact your mood!). Diseases related to oral health conditions can also shorten the lifespan of your pet and cause significant pain.
This is why regular dental care is so essential to animals' physical health and well-being.
- 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.
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: Anesthesia & Your Pet's Oral Health
Because dogs and cats do not understand what is going on during dental procedures, they'll often react to dental procedures by biting or struggling.
Like human dentists who provide anesthesia to anxious or nervous patients, our vets in Merced 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 as required.