Ridgemont Animal Hospital

4200 West Ridge Road
Rochester, NY 14626



The American Veterinary Dental College and the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry established February as National Pet Dental Health Month

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Dental disease is reported to be found in over 68% of all pets over the age of three. Dentals performed by your veterinarian is indicated when your pet has plaque accumulation, gingivitis, or some level of periodontal disease.

Owners can help monitor the need for dental work by doing monthly oral examinations on their pets. Owners can start by smelling their pet's mouth. If a sour odor is detected, gum disease may be present. No DescriptionGum disease is caused when bacteria builds up at the gum line around the teeth causing an invisible layer called plaque. This bacteria causes the plaque to thicken and mineralize into a visible yellow or brown material known as tartar. After time the tartar presses on the gum line causing it to recede, which will then cause bleeding, and destroy tooth-supporting bone resulting in tooth loss. So it is key if any tartar is noticed during your exam to have it removed professionally and accurately by your doctor before it leads to more severe problems.

Owners can also observe other symptoms of oral care problems by observing their pets. Decrease in appetite, or "finicky" eaters could be linked to a problem of dental disease or a bad tooth. Pets that paw at their mouth or shake their head a lot could be having oral problems. Also pets that approach the food bowl then seem reluctant to eat, or chew with discomfort or caution, could also be showing signs of a problem.

When your home exam or other symptoms reveal a possibility of a dental problem then it is time to visit your veterinarian for an oral exam to determine the severity of the situation and what measures will need to be taken to rectify the situation.


After the veterinarian completes a thorough examination of your pet's mouth, an accurate estimate will be given. All pets that need dental work will have some level of pre-anesthetic blood work done to screen for blood disorders and to be sure the liver and kidney functions are accurately working to metabolize the anesthesia and properly remove it from the body following the procedure.

No DescriptionPets will be admitted to the hospital for dental cleaning. Typically pets are dropped off early in the morning on their scheduled dental day. They will need to be fasted for 12 hours prior to the anesthetic and procedure. Once admitted every pet will get an IV catheter placed into their foreleg. This will help aid in the administration of anesthetic and fluids to help keep your pet well hydrated and to help flush the system of the anesthetic post-procedure. Your pet will then be given an injection under the skin as a sedative/pain reliever. After a few minutes the pet will be feeling more relaxed. At this point we use the safest of anesthetic agents for your pet to anesthetize them completely. A tube will then be placed into their windpipe to assist with breathing, and to safely maintain the gas anesthetic and oxygen needed to keep your pet anesthetized properly. The tube also prevents any bacteria from getting into the respitory system during the cleaning. They will then be hooked up to an electrocardiogram and pulse oximeters to closely monitor their heart rate under the anesthetic.

Each cleaning has many steps to accomplish the best possible dental care. The doctor will start with a very thorough exam of the mouth. This is more accurate when they are asleep compared to the one during the office visit because we can see the insides of the teeth and all back teeth without the pet's resistance and tongue in the way.

Next the plaque and tartar are removed using special forceps, hand instruments, and power scaling equipment. Each tooth is carefully examined for fractures, periodontal disease, and mobility. A periodontal probe is also used to measure gum pocket depths around each tooth very similar to the ones human dentists use. This will help determine the state of severity of periodontal disease and infection pockets. Sometimes dental x-rays are needed to show the inside of the tooth root, which lies beneath the gum line. No DescriptionAfter this point if any teeth need to be removed the Dr. would do that using different hand instruments and power scaling burrs and equipment.

Any time the teeth are cleaned and plaque is removed minor defects of the tooth surface occur. Polishing smoothes out the defects and removes plaque missed during previous steps. This is done like our human dentist would do, with a polishing paste applied to an electronic No Descriptionpolishing cup. After the polishing is complete excess paste is wiped away and the mouth is rinsed. A fluoride rinse or oral gel can then be applied if necessary.

The doctor and assistant will then complete a dental chart for the medical record. This will chart any missing teeth, extracted teeth, or any potential problems to observe in the future. The pet will have been given a nail trim, fluids, and injections of antibiotic along with pain medication throughout the course of the dental work. After everything is complete the pet will be disconnected from the anesthetic, placed in a cage lined with towels or blankets, and the tube will be pulled from the windpipe at the appropriate time. The whole time the dental assistant will watch them to recover safely.

Your pet then will be ready to go home later that same day. At the release the doctor and/or an assistant will go over the proper home care following anesthetic. They will also recommend you on the proper food. Most of the time your pet can go home and eat their regular food. Soft food or canned food is sometimes recommended for the first couple days if your pet has had extractions.

Since plaque is constantly being made and deposited in the mouth, home care will be recommended to prevent build up and the need for future dental procedures. Success on preventing plaque from mineralizing into calculus and causing the tarter build up will solely depend on the home care that you can provide your pet. The best way to prevent this is daily brushing of your pet's teeth with toothpaste made specifically for pets. Some owners will not be able to do this due to the pet's reluctance of the process. Other alternatives although not as effective are applying specific prescription mouth gels to the gumline. Finally, prescription diet T/D