Comprehensive Dental Care for Cats & Dogs
Routine dental care is a key aspect of cats' and dogs' oral and overall health. However, most pets don't get the oral hygiene care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
At our veterinary hospital in San Diego, we offer complete dental care for your pet, from basics such as teeth cleaning, dental exams and polishing, to dental X-rays and surgeries.
We are also big believers in dental health education and share information with pet owners about home dental care for their pets, so they can maintain their animals' oral health between appointments.
Dental Surgery in San Diego
We understand that it can be daunting to find out that your pet needs dental surgery. 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 make your pet's experience with us easy and comfortable. We'll explain each step of the process to you in detail before the procedure, including preparation and post-operative care needs.
We offer tooth extractions, jaw fracture repair surgeries and gum disease treatment for dogs and cats.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Similar to your annual checkup with the dentist, your cat or dog should see us for a dental examination at least once per year. Pets who are more prone to dental issues than others might need to see us more often.
Kearny Mesa Veterinary Center can assess, diagnose and treat dental health problems in cats and dogs.
Have you noticed any of these symptoms in your pet? It's time for a dental checkup.
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Tartar buildup
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Discolored teeth
- Bad breath
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
Before the dental exam, a thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment will be completed, during which blood and urine analyses will be done to ensure your pet can safely 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.
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 clients about pet dental care.
- Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
Tooth decay or periodontal disease can develop in our pets' mouths as a consequence of poor oral health.
Just like with humans, plaque sticks to animals' teeth when they eat and can accumulate, leading to tartar if not regularly brushed away.
This can cause infections in the mouth, tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even loose or missing teeth. That's why regular dental care is key to preventing gum disease or pain.
- How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Did you know your pet's behavior can point to oral health problems? If your pet is suffering from dental problems, they may drool excessively (and the drool may contain blood or pus). They may yawn excessively, or you might notice them pawing at their mouth or teeth. They may also stop grooming sufficiently or grind their teeth.
Other signs of oral health issues include swollen gums, tooth discoloration and bad breath. Some pets even suffer from pain that prevents them from eating. Learn 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 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 cats and dogs do not understand what's happening during dental procedures, they will often react by biting or struggling.
Just like how dentists provide anesthesia to their nervous or anxious patients, our vets in San Diego provide anesthesia to all of our patients before performing dental procedures. This means less stress on the animals and allows us to X-ray their mouth as required.