Pet Dental Care

Veterinary Dentistry Cats and dogs need proper dental care in order to enjoy the longest, healthiest lives possible. Caring for your pet's oral health can make a big difference in your pet's quality of life, especially as he or she gets older.

An oral examination is part of a complete physical examination and is performed at your pet's first visit. We check to see that your pet has the proper number of teeth and that they are properly positioned. As your pet returns for recheck examinations and booster vaccinations, the eruption of new teeth can be monitored.

Special attention must be paid to the mouths of small and toy breed dogs, as they are more prone to having retained deciduous teeth ("baby" teeth that don't fall out as permanent teeth come in). Sometimes, these teeth need to be extracted to allow the adult teeth to develop with proper alignment and prevent gum problems that may develop when food and other debris wedge between teeth that are too close together. Often, our veterinarians recommend extracting the retained deciduous teeth at the time of your pet's spay or neuter procedure.

Most cats and dogs need their teeth cleaned professionally (a "prophy," or prophylactic treatment) for the first time somewhere between two and five years of age. After that, they may need a dental cleaning every year or two. Some pets accumulate tartar more rapidly than others and need more frequent cleanings. If your pet has bad breath, it is probably a sign that he or she needs an oral exam and a dental cleaning.

Professional Dental Cleaning

A professional dental cleaning is one of the most important things you can do to improve your pet's total wellness. The mouth contains many bacteria that can cause health problems if they get into other areas of the body. If gum inflammation or deeper periodontal disease is allowed to develop, these bacteria get into the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body. The kidneys and the heart are two locations where secondary infections often develop. These infections may not be obvious immediately, but they can cause insidious damage and lead to premature kidney failure or heart failure.

Because complete, thorough dental care greatly benefits your pet, University Animal Hospital uses the latest digital dental x-ray technology. This technology has many positive effects on your pet's dental care. Digital dental x-rays provide a detailed picture of your pet's mouth, allowing us to diagnose problems that may not be visible during a standard oral exam. Digital dental x-rays allow us to detect problems that occur below the gum line due to bone loss and periodontal disease. University Animal Hospital is one of the few veterinary hospitals in NYC to offer advanced digital radiology.

Your pet's dental cleaning begins with a complete physical examination and blood testing, both of which are important for evaluating your pet's general health. Your pet's veterinary dental cleaning is very different from the process you might undergo at your dentist. Veterinary dentistry is considerably more involved, time-consuming, and complex. Cleaning a pet's teeth requires general anesthesia and a day of hospitalization.

Dental care does not end with your pet's professional dental cleaning at University Animal Hospital. Brushing your pet's teeth is an important part of your pet's home dental care regimen. Ask one of our veterinarians or veterinary technicians to show you the proper method of brushing your pet's teeth.