Just like us, our pets are able to get regular dental exams to maintain their oral health and well-being. By bringing in your pet for annual check-ups, your veterinarian can help you keep track of unwanted woes in your pet’s mouth. Some of those unwanted situations vary from stinky breath, toothaches, gum disease, and infected abscesses. Many of these issues can be easily prevented with daily oral care at home, but as your pet gets older, it becomes more difficult to keep dental disease away. Below are a few common Dental Related Questions to help you better understand the importance of these exams and procedures:

How often does my dog need a dental?
Every dog is different. Age, diet, breed, and preventative care all play an important role. We recommend yearly exams for all dogs and cats. This allows your pet’s doctor to evaluate your pet’s oral health and make appropriate recommendations at that time.

What is the difference between a non-anesthetic dental cleaning and an anesthetic dental cleaning?
Non-anesthetic dental cleanings are designed to remove mild superficial tartar and plaque accumulations in young dogs. They are not designed to treat or diagnose an infection under the gum line, which is common with dental disease and patients over 4 years of age. Please be advised at Chino Hills Animal Hospital Non-Anesthetic Dental procedures are scheduled for the first Saturday of every month. However, our Anesthetic Dentals are available to be scheduled Monday-Saturday.

Why do you have to put them under anesthesia to clean their teeth?
Anesthesia is necessary to accurately diagnose and treat dental disease by allowing us to perform dental x-rays, ultrasonically scale and remove plaque, probe for pockets of infection under the gumline, perform necessary dental extractions, and thoroughly examine all oral structures.

I’m concerned about my pet getting too many extractions, what can be done?
Dental extractions are only performed on teeth that are too infected or damaged to be left behind. Keeping these teeth results in a chronic source of infection and pain and offsets the benefits of a dental cleaning procedure. However, sometimes we can bond damaged teeth, or leave teeth with only mild to moderate infection if an owner vows to perform at home dental care with frequent dental checks by a veterinarian.

How many teeth will my pet need extracted?
It is impossible to know how many teeth will need to be extracted prior to an anesthetic dental procedure. However, at the time of the dental procedure, we perform a full mouth assessment before determining if a tooth should be extracted. This assessment includes performing dental x-rays, probing for pockets, checking mobility, removing tartar accumulations, and checking for root exposure. We take dental extractions very seriously and only remove a tooth if it is severely diseased.

What happens after my pet has several teeth extracted?
Dogs and cats do remarkably well even after having several teeth extracted. The mouth is one of the fastest healing areas of the body and even with severe dental disease patients are typically eating normally within just a few days. Remember, extracted teeth are infected teeth, and once the source of infection is removed, a pet’s mouth will feel better.

Are there any risks involved?
There are always slight risks involved with anesthesia, however, we at Chino Hills Animal Hospital limit these risks by requiring current exams within the last 90 days, perform labwork prior to anesthesia, give IV fluids throughout the procedure and use only the best monitoring equipment and safest medications for your pet.

What preventative measures can I do for my pet’s oral health?
Dental disease is always progressive, so remember defense is the best offense! Frequent dental cleaning and oral care when a Pet’s mouth is still healthy and disease is mild will help prevent worsening of disease later in life. Subsequently, resulting in fewer teeth needing to be removed over the course of the pet’s life. For a list of veterinary approved dental products go to http://www.vohc.org/

Let us help you care for your pet’s oral health! Give our hospital a call today at (909) 591-1805 to schedule your pet’s next dental exam.

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