Animal Dental Care

Q: How can you effectively perform cleaning on a dog or cat while it is squirming around and under stress?

A: We sit at eye-level with the pet and use a variety of proprietary holds to maintain control while keeping our patient calm and comfortable. Pets are never forced or bullied into submission. Most veterinarians are totally amazed at how compliant dogs and cats become during the procedure.

Q: Are you able to do a thorough cleaning both above and below the gum line?

A: Absolutely! Our assistants are highly skilled hygienists. They know the importance of removing all of the plaque from the outside and inside surfaces of the teeth, both above and below the gum line.

Q: Don’t most pets become frightened and panic when you attempt to use a scaler or a motorized polisher?

A: We treat our patients much like a dentist treats a young child during a first-time dental visit. We use patience in our approach, and slowly introduce each phase of the procedure. As we build trust, almost every dog and cat we treat will allow us to use all of the exact same tools used in traditional veterinary dentistry.

Q: Have you found this technique to be effective with high-risk patients?

A: Yes! Non-anesthetic dental cleanings are an alternative for older pets, and for pets with chronic kidney, liver or heart disease who might not be a candidate for general anesthesia.

Q: Can a properly trained non-anesthetic dental (NAD) technician perform a cleaning on virtually any dog?

A: No. While the vast majority of dogs and cats will benefit greatly from non-anesthetic dental, there are some for whom it is not appropriate. Examples of pets who are poor candidates for non-anesthetic dental include pets with: severe gingivitis, caries, fractured teeth or stomatitis. Our non-anesthetic dental (NAD) assistants are aware of the limitations of our drug-free technique. Whenever they discover a loose or fractured tooth, gum disease, tumors, epuli, abscess or any other condition that necessitates a doctor’s intervention, they are quick to bring it to the attending vet’s attention. In cases where it is discovered that NAD is not appropriate, pet owners are much more receptive to traditional dental methods because they know they have tried the drug-free approach first. Additionally, some disease cannot be detected by physical exam and oral radiographs under anesthesia is necessary. Therefore, routine dental radiographs under anesthesia is recommended as part of a complete dental care program.

Q: What does the technician do if a patient is completely uncooperative, overly fearful, or demonstrates highly aggressive behavior?

A: A well-trained and experienced non-anesthetic dental (NAD) assistant can usually tell within a few minutes whether the patient’s temperament will allow for a successful procedure. In some cases, they are able to calm fearful pets enough to allow for a full cleaning. Other times, though, they will determine that the patient’s temperament simply is not conducive to anesthesia-free treatment and they will recommend an alternative treatment approach.

FAQs About Cat Dental Care

Many pet owners have questions and concerns regarding proper cat dental care, particularly if they have just adopted their first feline family member. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions,

Q: Do cats have baby teeth?

A: Cats do indeed possess a set of deciduous or “baby” teeth before their permanent teeth grow in, a process that occurs between 3 and 7 months of age. Occasionally, however, a baby tooth will fail to fall out on schedule, a condition known as retained teeth that can interfere with the growth of the permanent teeth. Veterinarians can watch for this condition and extract a troublesome baby tooth if necessary.

Q: What causes tooth decay and gum disease in cats?

A: The most common cause is plaque, a combination of saliva and bits of food that coats the teeth. As bacteria feed on the plaque, a hard substance called tartar is formed, attracting even more bacteria. This can result in tooth decay and tooth loss, gum infections, and even infection of the internal organs. Periodic removal of tartar through professional dental cleanings is an important part of cat dental care as it helps prevent these complications.

Q: Should I brush my cat’s teeth?

A: Between dental visits, brushing your cat’s teeth can reduce the amount of tartar we have to remove during a dental visit, though brushing is not a replacement for professional dental cleaning techniques. Veterianrian hospitals and pet stores sell special toothpastes that are not only safe for cats but also flavored to suit their tastes.

Q: What should I feed my cat?

A: Cats are not people, and many of the table treats we allow ourselves are loaded with sugars that promote tooth decay. We recommend that you limit your cat’s dietary intake to dry food, since wet food has more of a tendency to stick to tooth enamel and get lodged between teeth. You can also purchase certain cat food formulations specifically designed to help prevent tartar buildup.

Q: What are “cat cavities?”

A: While cats are prone to ordinary cavities just as other animals are, they can also fall prey to a condition known as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions. These “cat cavities” are sensitive pits that form in the teeth; eventually they can penetrate the enamel and cause serious damage. This condition can be detected during a dental evaluation and cleaning.

Q: How often are checkups and cleanings necessary?

A: We recommend biannual to annual checkups and cleanings for healthy adult cats as a general rule. Kittens and senior cats may need more frequent evaluations.

Q: Does my cat need anesthesia-free cleanings?

A: Some animals cannot tolerate the general anesthesia typically used in cat dental care. If your cat has a health problem, for instance, it may be safer for him to have anesthesia-free cleanings.

We Can See to Your Cat Dental Care Needs
We encourage patients interested in scheduling anesthesia-free cat dental care to visit Animal Dental Care’s “Make an Appointment” page. We will be happy to help you find a specially trained practitioner in your area.

Top 5 Dog Dental Care FAQs

Is your pet’s doggy breath less than desirable? Bad breath is more than just a nuisance; it may be a sign that your dog is suffering from periodontal disease or another health problem. A regular dental cleaning is the best way to remove plaque and tartar build up from your pet’s gum line, which reduces the risk for periodontal disease and other oral health problems. At Animal Dental Care, our team follows an anesthesia-free approach to dog dental cleaning. Below, our dental team answers five of your most frequently asked questions about anesthesia-free dog dental care,

Q: What is non-anesthetic dental cleaning?

A: Non-anesthetic dental cleaning is a drug-free approach to cleaning your dog’s teeth. We use a gentle, compassionate approach to gain your pet’s trust. Our team is extensively trained to help pets relax during the cleaning process. By building trust with each pet, we help your pet relax during the cleaning process. This approach can help eliminates the need for anesthesia as often, which can result in unexpected side effects if the right pre-anesthestic measures are taken.

Q: Is non-anesthetic dental cleaning effective?

A: Yes, non-anesthetic dental cleaning can be very effective .Your dog will receive a thorough cleaning above and below the gum line. Our dental team removes plaque from the outer and inner surfaces of teeth. This reduces the risk for periodontal disease, bacterial infections and tooth loss. This provides an added tool to the veterinarian so regular maintenance can be implemented more often than their yearly dental and radiographs under anesthesia.

Q: Is my pet a good candidate for anesthesia-free dog dental care?

A: We consider all dogs to be good candidates for our anesthesia-free dog dental cleaning! This is especially true for older dogs or dogs with health problems. These dogs may be unable to safely receive anesthesia. Consequently, without anesthesia, many veterinarians are unable to perform dental cleanings. That’s where our approach comes in handy. We are able to safely clean your senior pet’s teeth without the need for anesthesia – and without the risk for complications!

Q: Why are annual dental cleanings so important?

A: Regular dental cleanings are extremely important for your dog’s health. In fact, the majority of dogs aged three years or older are suffering from periodontal disease – and their pet owners do not even realize it. This is not because their pet owners are negligent or do not wish to provide quality wellness care. This high incidence of periodontal disease is because many pet owners simply do not know that dental cleanings are essential to wellness care, just like an annual checkup and vaccination booster. An annual dental cleaning is the best way to remove plaque and tartar build up from your pet’s gum line and reduce the risk for periodontal disease.

Q: Should I brush my dog’s teeth at home?

A: Yes, brushing your dog’s teeth at home is important to reducing the risk for gum disease. Even with regular cleanings, at-home care is just as important. Our dog dental care team is happy to demonstrate proper brushing technique; just ask us during your next visit.