Complete Dental Health

Older dog showing his smile

Maintaining a high level of oral and dental care is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health. The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age three.

Numerous studies have tied oral health to longevity. A high level of oral health care can promote your pet's overall wellness as dental disease doesn't affect just the mouth, it can lead to more serious health problems including heart, lung, and kidney diseases.

Two critical components of Vista Veterinary Hospital's dental care program are oral examinations and dental cleanings.

Vista Veterinary Hospital's dental care begins when puppies and kittens are examined for problems related to their baby teeth, missing or extra teeth, swellings and oral development. Later on, we look for growth abnormalities, the accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease, and oral tumors.

Vista's veterinarians will instruct you on the best way to help care for your pet's teeth and gums at home, the most important part in dental health!

Golden retriever with family has great teeth

Dental and Oral Health

Animal dental health is often overlooked as it relates to a pet's comprehensive health status. Sound oral health is necessary for quality of life and optimal wellness. If left untreated, diseases of the mouth, gums or jaw are not only painful but may also be contributing factors to more widespread, systemic disease processes.

The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age three, and 60 percent of disease occurs below the gum line. Dental disease may not only affect the mouth, but may also progress to serious health risks affecting the heart, lungs, or kidneys. Since bacteria often invade the oral cavity, tartar and plaque need to be removed to counteract subsequent infection, gingivitis ("swollen gums") or pyorrhea (infection of tissues surrounding the teeth).

Dental prophylaxis (prevention), generally speaking, is performed on an animal who has a healthy oral cavity and only mild gingivitis in order to prevent more serious tissue damage or disease.

Dental treatment is available to patients with disease of any part of the mouth. The beginning and severity of periodontal disease depends on age, breed, diet, and at-home care, with younger, small-breed dogs typically presenting with infection earlier than large-breed dogs. Abnormal signs and symptoms of dental abnormalities include: pain, bad breath, excessive drooling, fractured or loose teeth, swelling or bleeding of the gums, tumors, sores or wounds.

The oral examination performed by your Vista Veterinary Hospital veterinarian is the basis of the preliminary treatment plan for your pet. A comprehensive, specific plan can only be determined after your animal has had appropriate blood tests, has been placed under anesthesia, and x-rays of the oral cavity have been taken. General anesthesia is necessary for pets undergoing dental treatment. All anesthetized animals receive continuous IV fluids, and their blood pressure, oxygen status, and heart functions monitored. With modern anesthetics and good monitoring, the risk of anesthesia is very low.

With a focus on restorative care, your doctors at Vista Veterinary Hospital are skilled and well-equipped to perform procedures such as:

  • application of dental products to minimize plaque buildings
  • deep-gum cleaning
  • removal of calculus (tartar)
  • extractions
  • polishing

After any dental procedure, home dental care for your companion animal will be discussed in order to maximize his or her comfort, maintain a disease-free oral cavity, and retain good quality of life.