Comprehensive Dental Care for Cats & Dogs
Routine dental care is an important aspect of any pet's oral and overall health. however, most pets don't actually receive the oral hygiene care they need to keep their gums and teeth healthy throughout their lives.
At our veterinary hospital in Des Moines, we provide comprehensive dental care for your pet, from basic cleanings and polishing to dental x-rays and surgeries.
We also make a point of providing dental health education to pet owners about home dental care for their pets.
Dental Surgery in Des Moines
We know that discovering that your pet requires dental surgery can be an overwhelming prospect. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible both for you and for your pet.
We will do everything we can to ensure that your pet's experience with us as both comfortable and easy as possible. We will walk through each step fo the process with you in detail before we conduct the procedure, including any preparation or post-operative care you will need to provide your pet with.
We offer jaw fracture repair surgeries, tooth extractions, and gum disease treatment for dogs and cats.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Just like your own annual checkup with your dentist, your dog, cat or exotic pet should come in for a dental examination at least once each year. Pets who are more prone the dental health issues should come in more often than that.
Des Moines Veterinary 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.
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Tartar buildup
- Bad breath
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- 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 placed under anesthesia, we will conduct a comprehensive oral exam 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 last step is to apply a dental sealant to your pet's teeth to prevent plaque from attaching to their enamel. If advanced periodontal disease is found, a vet will develop a treatment plan and walk you through it.
Ideally, a follow-up examination will be scheduled two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment.
During your visit, we will discuss implementing toothbrushing for your pet at home. We will also take time to recommend products that may help improve or maintain their 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.
Just like in people, when our pets eat, plaque sticks to their teeth and can build up into tartar if not brushed regularly.
This can lead to infections in the mouth, periodontal disease, tooth decay, 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 may 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 issues can include bad breath, tooth discoloration and swollen gums. Some pets may even suffer from serious pain while eating. Read more about symptoms of oral health issues under Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams section on this page.
- What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?
Besides causing issues ranging from bad breath and cavities to severe periodontal disease, oral health issues and conditions can cause disease in the kidneys, heart, liver and other areas throughout your 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 tooth 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.
Our vet will clean tartar and other debris from your dog or cat's teeth. If cavities, gingivitis or other conditions would need to be addressed, the vet will explain these to you and provide you with some advice about what 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.
Make sure you aren't allowing your pet to chew on things that will damage your teeth, like bones, toys or objects that are too hard. If you have any questions about your pet's oral health, make sure you contact your vet with any concerns or questions.
Veterinary Dentistry: Anesthesia & Your Pet's Oral Health
Cats and dogs do not understand what is going on during dental procedures, and will often react to dental procedures by struggling or biting.
Similar to the anesthesia provided to nervous or anxious patients by dentists, our Des Moines vets 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 needed.