Dog Dentistry


Q: Why isn’t my dog eating normally?
A: One possibility is it’s your dog’s way of saying, “It hurts.”

Also visit our Cat Dentistry page.

Video: "Why Pet Dentistry?"—Dr. Benham shares why pet dentistry is so important to the total health of our beloved pets.

Does my dog need to see the dentist?

Gingivitis. Listed here are signs of gingivitis, one of the early stages of dental disease. Remember, many pets show no outward signs or symptoms associated with dental pain. So it is important to identify dental disease at its earliest stages.

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Buildup of yellowish plaque
  • Bleeding gums (advanced stage)
  • Buildup of brownish tartar (advanced stage)
  • Pungent breath (advanced stage)

Periodontal Disease. If gingivitis is not identified early, or not prevented with regular dental cleanings, signs of periodontal disease may appear:

  • Includes signs of gingivitis
  • Pain when eating
  • Pustular [or puss] discharge
  • Light bone loss
  • Infection (advanced stage)
  • Heavy bone loss (advanced stage)
  • Loose teeth (advanced stage)

Other Dental Concerns. In addition to dental disease, our veterinarians can also identify and treat these other dental issues:

  • Loose teeth (in adult dogs with healthy gums)
  • Crooked teeth
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Tooth root abscess [or infection]

Periodontal disease causes frequent pain and is linked to weight loss, bone infection, jaw fractures, lung infection, kidney failure, liver failure, and heart failure. It destroys gums and tissues that support the teeth, which may result in loss of teeth and poor general health.

A loose tooth in adult dogs will rarely correct itself, and a crooked tooth can create a challenge when eating, as well as pain. A cracked or broken tooth can introduce bacteria into the root and lead to a tooth root abscess, which is a painful infection.

St. Petersburg Veterinarian Dog Dentistry

What will the veterinarian do for my dog?

Prevention. The first and primary aim of our veterinarians is to prevent dental problems from occurring. Here are the main components of preventative dental healthcare:

  • Bi-annual dental exam
  • Annual dental cleaning (bi-annual is recommended if you don’t brush your dog’s teeth weekly)
  • Antibiotics with dental cleaning, if needed

Treatment. If dental issues are identified, our veterinarians will determine the best course of treatment. This may include one or more of the following procedures, depending on the dental problem:

  • Removal of excessive gingival tissue, if needed
  • Removal of tartar
  • Bonded sealant to preserve fractured teeth, if needed
  • Tooth extraction, if needed
  • Bone replacement, if needed
  • Periodontal splinting, if needed
  • Tissue regeneration, if needed
  • Root canal, if needed
  • Dental cleaning
  • Antibiotics, if needed

In most pets, periodontal disease can be prevented and treated with quality dental care. Our doctors and technicians are trained in advanced dentistry. We strive to improve your pet’s health through cleaning, digital radiography, and oral surgery with the safest and most comfortable care possible. To learn about the benefits of anesthesia during your pet's dental cleaning, please read this informative article on ScienceBasedMedicine.com.

In severe cases that may need significant dental extractions, we can perform the needed procedures at Northeast Animal Hospital, where we are equipped to manage more advanced dental treatment.

Please don’t wait until your dog’s health begins to decline. You have help: We can work along with you to prevent serious health issues in your canine companion, with dental exams and cleanings each year.

What can I do for my dog’s dental health?

  • Brush your dog’s teeth daily.
  • Schedule a dental exam and cleaning annually. Schedule them bi-annually if you don't brush your dog’s teeth at least weekly.

Northeast Animal Hospital can offer a specially-formulated diet to help care for your dog’s dental health. Please call us to help you find the right option for your dog.

Signs of Pet Dental Disease

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