Veterinary Dentistry & Dental Surgery
Dental Care for Pets
Routine dental care is one critical component of cats' and dogs' oral and overall health. However, most pets don't get the oral hygiene care they need to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy.
You'll find a variety of dental care services for your pet at our Tennessee veterinary hospital, from basics such as dental exams, teeth cleanings, and polishing to dental X-rays and surgeries.
We are also committed to providing dental health education to pet owners about the importance of home dental care for their pets.
Dental Surgery in Tennessee
We understand that learning that your pet needs dental surgery can be daunting. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible for both you and your pet.
We'll do everything in our power to ensure your pet's experience with us is easy and comfortable. We'll explain each step of the process to you in an easy-to-understand language before the procedure, including preparation and post-operative care requirements.
We offer tooth extractions, jaw fracture repair surgeries, and gum disease treatment for dogs and cats.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Similar to your annual checkup with the dentist, your cat or dog should see us for a dental examination at least once a year. Pets who are more prone to dental issues than others may need to come in more often.
Belle Forest Animal Hospital can assess, diagnose and treat dental health problems in cats and dogs.
If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, it's t time for a dental checkup.
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Discolored teeth
- Tartar buildup
- Bad breath
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
A thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before we conduct the dental exam.
A blood and urine analysis will be taken to ensure it's safe for your pet to undergo anesthesia. We may also do additional diagnostics such as chest radiographs or an ECG.
Once your pet is under anesthesia, we will perform a complete oral examination (tooth by tooth) 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 final step is to apply a dental sealant to prevent plaque from attaching to the enamel. If advanced periodontal disease is found, the veterinarian will develop a treatment plan and discuss it with you.
Ideally, a follow-up examination will be scheduled two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment.
During this visit, we will discuss implementing teeth brushing at home. We can also recommend products that can help improve your pet's oral health.
FAQs About Pet Dental Care
See below for some of the most frequently asked questions from our patients about pet dental care.
- Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
Due to poor oral health, our pets can develop periodontal disease or tooth decay.
Similar to their human companions, plaque sticks to animals' teeth when they eat and may build up into tartar if not regularly brushed away.
This can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease, infections in the mouth, and even loose or missing teeth. That's why regular dental care is key to preventing pain or disease in the gums.
- How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Were you aware that behavior can point to oral health issues? If your pet is experiencing dental problems, they may yawn or drool excessively (and the drool may contain blood or pus), grind their teeth, or stop grooming sufficiently. You may also see them paw at their mouth or teeth.
Other signs of oral health problems include tooth discoloration, swollen gums, and bad breath. Some pets might even suffer from pain that keeps them from eating. Read more about symptoms to the left under Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams.
- What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?
In addition to causing problems ranging from bad breath and cavities to severe periodontal disease, oral health issues and conditions can lead to disease in the heart, kidney, liver, and other areas in your pet's body.
Your pet may develop tumors or cysts, and they may not feel well in general (if you've ever had a toothache, you understand how it can impact your mood!). Plus, diseases related to oral health conditions can shorten your pet's lifespan and cause significant pain.
This is why regular dental care is so important to animals' physical health and wellbeing.
- What happens during my pet's teeth 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.
The vet will clean tartar and other debris from your cat's or dog's teeth. If cavities, gingivitis, or other conditions need to be addressed, the vet will explain these to you and provide advice on which 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.
Do not allow them to chew on things that will damage their teeth, such as bones, toys, or objects that are too hard. Always contact your vet with any questions or concerns regarding your pet's oral health.
Veterinary Dentistry: Anesthesia & Your Pet's Oral Health
Since cats and dogs do not understand what is going on during dental procedures, they will often react by biting or struggling.
Similar to how human dentists provide anesthesia to nervous or anxious patients, our vets in Tennessee provide anesthesia to all of our patients before performing dental procedures. This puts less stress on animals and allows us to X-ray their mouth as required.