Dental Care for Pets
Routine dental care is a critical component of a pet's oral and overall health, but most of pets don't get the oral hygiene care they need and their tooth and gum health suffers.
At our Boulder County veterinary hospital, we provide complete dental care for your pet, from basic dental exams, teeth cleanings and polishing, to dental x-rays and surgeries.
We also make sure to provide pet owners with the education required to administer proper dental care to their pets.
Dental Surgery in Boulder County
It can be overwhelming to find out your pet needs dental surgery. We do everything we can to make sure this process is as stress-free as possible.
We'll break down each step of the process for you in detail before the procedure, including preparation and post-operative care requirements. We'll also do everything we can to ensure your pet's experience is comfortable and easy.
We offer jaw fracture repair surgeries, tooth extractions, and gum disease treatment.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Similar to your annual checkup at the dentist, your pet should come in for a dental examination at least once a year. Pets who are prone to dental problems may need to come in for a checkup more often.
Lafayette Companion Animal 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.
- Tartar buildup
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- 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 analyze your pet's blood and urine to ensure it's safe for them to tolerate anesthesia. Additional diagnostics, such as chest x-rays or an ECG may also be conducted in some situations.
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 of your pets mouth are taken. We then apply a fluoride treatment to each tooth.
The last 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 course of action.
Ideally, a follow-up examination will be scheduled two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment.
During this visit, we will discuss implementing tooth 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?
Our pets can develop periodontal disease or tooth decay as a consequence of poor oral health practices.
Just like in humans, plaque sticks to their teeth and can build up into tartar if not brushed away regularly.
This can lead to infections in the mouth, tooth decay, periodontal disease, 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 can 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, tooth discoloration, and swollen gums. Some pets may be in pain which can cause them to stop 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 heart, kidney, liver, 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 much discomfort it can cause!). In addition, diseases related to oral health conditions can cause a great deal of pain and even shorten their lifespan.
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.
Sometimes surgery will be needed to treat serious conditions. Your pet will be provided with anesthesia before their dental procedure to ensure they are comfortable. 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 to naturally reduce the amount of plaque buildup on their teeth.
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
Your pet can't understand what is happening during their dental procedure and can react to procedures by struggling and biting.
Our Boulder County vets provide anesthesia to all of our patients before performing dental procedures. much like anesthesia provided to anxious patients by dentists. This allows us to x-ray their mouth as needed and puts less stress on your pet.