Teeth cleaning and dentistry
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Why does my cat or dog need a dental cleaning?
Veterinary dental cleanings prevent plaque and tartar build up, which can lead to more serious issues like periodontal disease, gingivitis, pain, inflammation, infection, tooth decay, and tooth or bone loss. Veterinary cleanings also prevent bacteria from entering your pet’s bloodstream, and affecting their heart, liver, and kidneys. Regular, at-home brushing is also highly recommended to help keep your pet's mouth healthy and reduce the number of veterinary cleanings they’ll need over their lifetime.
What does a pet dental cleaning involve?
At Juno, we have a state-of-the-art dental suite for all dental cleanings and procedures. Your pet will have anesthesia to keep them safe while our vets clean their teeth.
Dental cleaning begins with scaling, where our vet techs use an ultrasonic cleaning machine to remove any plaque and tartar above and below the gumline.
Just like a human dentist, we’ll polish your pet’s teeth, leaving the surface of the teeth smooth while removing tiny scratches in the enamel, helping to prevent buildup of plaque and tartar in the future.
Your vet will also thoroughly inspect your pet’s teeth for any cavities, fractures, and other dental issues. Plus, we’ll take full dental x-rays to check for any problems hiding below the gumline. If your pet requires any surgical dental extractions, our vets can perform this procedure at the same time.
What can I expect during a dental cleaning?
Before your pet comes in for their dental cleaning, we’ll see them for a pre-operative appointment to discuss the procedure and check their health. This will include a physical exam plus some bloodwork to make sure your pet is healthy for surgery.
The night before your pet’s dental cleaning, make sure they don’t eat anything after midnight. You can keep giving them water until the morning, though. (Make sure everyone in your household is aware, so no one accidentally gives your pet breakfast!)
You’ll drop your pet off with us in the morning and leave them at the clinic until the cleaning is complete, and they’ve recovered from the anesthesia. We’ll send you updates throughout the day to let you know how your pet is doing and when it’s time to pick them up.
Is there anything I need to do after my pet’s dental procedure?
Most pets recover relatively quickly from dental cleanings and anesthesia. A little drowsiness, and some post-anesthesia anxiety and fussiness is normal. You can feed your pet in the evening after their procedure; soft food is recommended if they had extractions. If your pet required a lot of oral manipulation during the procedure, or had extractions, we’ll send you home with pain relief to keep them comfortable.
I brush my pet’s teeth/give my pet dental chews/toys. Do they still need a veterinary dental cleaning?
Yes! Brushing reduces the amount of tartar, plaque, and harmful bacteria in your pet’s mouth, but it doesn’t eliminate them. Just like humans, your pet will still need periodic dental cleanings to keep their mouth healthy and prevent any dental issues from becoming more serious.
Why does my pet need to go under anesthesia for a dental cleaning? Is it safe?
Many pet owners are concerned about their pet undergoing anesthesia, but it’s more dangerous for your pet to go without it. Anesthesia is a common procedure and is very safe. Before the procedure, we’ll schedule a pre-operative appointment to make sure your pet’s a suitable candidate for anesthesia. We also use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to ensure they’re safe during the procedure itself. If there are ever any doubts about the safety of anesthesia for your pet, your vet will speak to you about possible alternatives.
Can you do an anesthesia-free cleaning?
No. Anesthesia-free cleaning is dangerous for pets. We need your pet to be completely still during their cleaning. Any movement while our cleaning instruments are in your pet’s mouth could cause serious injury, pain, or fear. A thorough dental cleaning also requires some cleaning underneath the gums, which is uncomfortable without anesthesia.
How long will the dental procedure take?
Dental procedures take anywhere from 1.5 - 4 hours, depending on the extent of the cleaning, whether your pet needs extractions, and if there are other issues. You’ll drop your pet off in the morning and can pick them up later the same day once the anesthesia has worn off.
Why would my pet need a tooth extracted?
There are a number of reasons your pet may need a tooth extracted, including infection, tooth decay, or a broken tooth. Periodontal disease from plaque and tartar buildup can damage the pulp and nerves under the teeth, and extraction may be the only way to alleviate the pain. Retained baby teeth, overcrowded teeth, and misaligned teeth may also require extractions so your pet’s mouth can develop correctly. Our vets will only recommend extractions if they’re in the best interest of your pet.
Is a dental procedure painful for my pet?
Because we use anesthesia, your pet’s dental procedure (including extractions) will be as pain-free as possible. We also use injectable pain medications and local anesthetic; it’s just like having your mouth frozen at a human dentist. After more intensive procedures like tooth extractions, we’ll send you home with pain medication to keep your pet comfortable.
Will a dental cleaning fix my pet’s bad breath?
Bad breath is one of the key signs of dental disease or infection. A dental cleaning will often eliminate these issues, and in turn, your pet’s bad breath. If the bad breath persists after their cleaning, there’s likely something else going on, and our vets can advise on other treatment options.
What are some of the signs that my pet needs a dental cleaning?
There are several signs your pet may need a dental cleaning, including bad breath, visible tartar on their teeth, bleeding gums, wiggly or missing teeth, and any signs of oral pain, like difficulty chewing, favouring one side of the mouth, or pawing at the mouth. Daily brushing is the best way to keep on top of dental issues. Our vets will also check your pet’s teeth at every wellness appointment.
How much will the dental cleaning cost?
Dental cleanings are unique to each pet, and the cost will vary depending on your pet and factors like the extent of dental disease, and if tooth extractions are needed. We’ll also perform a pre-operative exam to ensure your pet is safe to undergo anesthesia. Price transparency is important to us, so we’ll give you the total cost of your pet’s dental cleaning before the procedure.
Does my pet need a pre-operative appointment?
Yes. It’s important for our vets to examine your pet before they undergo dental cleaning. At your pet’s pre-op appointment we’ll do a physical exam, plus some bloodwork to make sure they’re in good health and that it's safe for them to undergo anesthesia.
How often does my pet need a dental cleaning?
If you take care of your pet’s teeth at home with daily brushing, they’ll need a dental cleaning every 2 - 3 years. However, some smaller dogs and cats will need annual dental cleanings due to certain factors.
Can I brush my pet’s teeth at home?
Yes! Regular at-home brushing, preferably every day, is the best thing you can do to prevent dental disease. However, just like with people, regular brushing isn’t a replacement for professional dental cleaning.
What toothpaste should I use to brush my pet’s teeth?
Be sure to use a pet toothpaste designed specifically for animals. Human toothpaste contains fluoride and, for some brands, xylitol, both of which can be toxic for pets.