Small Animal

Did you know that the buildup of yellow to brown tartar on your pet’s teeth, smelly breath, and red or swollen gums is a sign of dental disease? Studies show that by the age of 3 most dogs and cats have some level of dental disease. This tartar build-up on the teeth and below the gumline can lead to pain, inflammation, and infection. Dental disease does not just affect your pet’s mouth, it affects their overall health as well. Tartar houses bacteria which can be absorbed into the bloodstream and affect the health of internal organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys. This is why it is important that your pets receive regular dental cleaning/care.

What should I do to care for my pet’s dental health?
We recommend all pets have their teeth evaluated at least yearly at their annual exam with their veterinarian. Your veterinarian can further advise you on treatment plans for your pet’s teeth, whether that is at home care like teeth brushing with dog/cat specific toothpaste and dental chews or that it is time for your pet to have a professional teeth cleaning by your veterinarian.

What is involved with a professional dental/teeth cleaning by your veterinarian?
When your pet gets a lot of tartar and/or gingivitis it is best for their overall health to have a professional dental cleaning done by your veterinarian. For this procedure, your pet will be placed under general anesthesia so that your veterinarian can safely clean the teeth above and below the gumline. Here at Potlatch Veterinary Clinic, all teeth are examined, scaled, cleaned, and polished under anesthesia while monitored by a veterinary technician. In addition, we also take a complete set of dental x-rays with all dental cleanings to fully examine the health of the teeth including the roots.

Why might my pet need a tooth extracted?
We make every effort to save all of your pet’s teeth but if dental disease has progressed and your pet has a tooth or teeth that are infected, fractured, loose, or otherwise excessively damaged beyond repair it will be recommended to have the damaged tooth/teeth extracted. These teeth are typically painful to your pet and they feel better once the damaged teeth are removed. Pain medication is administered during the extraction procedure and is sent home for the next few days. Typically, pets feel and eat better after the severely damaged teeth are removed and often can return to their normal diet after recovery.

  • Teeth Exams
  • Dental Cleaning & Polishing
  • Tooth Extractions
  • Minor Oral Surgery

Studies show that 50% of all dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. That number jumps to 80% in pets that are 3 years of age or older.