Coastside Veterinary Clinic, Inc.

614 Purissima Street
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019


Dental Care and Treatment

Just like humans, animals need dental care too. Also called a "prophy" or prophylaxis, a dental prophy involves scaling the teeth under the gum line to treat periodontal disease, detect cat dental cavities (feline oral resorptive lesions), and bone loss. It is important to realize that dental disease does not reach a particular level and remain there. Dental disease continuously progresses. Untreated dental disease can lead to liver, kidney, heart and other diseases. As dental disease progresses, the treatment becomes more involved, meaning longer and more elaborate (and sometimes more costly) dental procedures.

What Are the Indications for Performing a Dental Procedure?

A dental cleaning should be performed on your pet when gingivitis (red area along the gum lines) is seen or bleeding during brushing is noted. Many pets get their teeth cleaned once a year. A yearly cleaning is not necessarily appropriate for all pets. Some need it more, and some need it less. Diet, chewing behavior and preventative care (daily tooth brushing) are among the important factors affecting the potential of your pet getting dental disease and how fast dental disease can progress. Larger breed dogs, which often eat only dry food and do a fair amount of recreational chewing, are not as prone to periodontal disease as are smaller dogs. Small dogs have more crowding of their teeth, are less likely to be eating only dry food and do less recreational chewing, all of which lead to increased risk of periodontal disease.

What Preoperative Examinations or Tests Are Needed?

A proper dental procedure for your pet requires him or her to be placed under general anesthesia. Prior to this a few things need to be done.

  1. Complete physical exam
  2. Pre-anesthetic blood screening panel including: evaluation of liver and kidney function, red and white blood cell counts to check for any underlying or preexisting conditions prior to anesthesia.
  3. Anesthesia is required for a proper examination of the oral cavity and a thorough cleaning. Periodontal disease is below the gum line and cannot properly be treated without anesthesia

Your pet needs to be under general anesthesia for a dental procedure for several reasons:

  1. A complete examination and cleaning of all teeth cannot be performed thoroughly and safely (for both your pet and the veterinarian) in an awake animal.
  2. Dental radiographs (x-rays) may be necessary for appropriate evaluation of dental disease and are impossible to perform on a pet that is awake.
  3. Any tooth extractions that may be necessary requires an anesthetized patient.

Please call to schedule an oral assessment for your furry friend!