FAQ’s about Pet Dental Cleanings

How often should my pet have a dental cleaning?

Dogs and cats should have a veterinary dental cleaning annually starting at age two, or sooner if they have some other oral health problem identified earlier.

Why does my pet’s breath smell so bad?

Bad breath is a sign of disease, often it may mean that oral disease is present in your pet’s mouth, not that their teeth are just dirty. Bad breath is often an indication of periodontal disease which lurks beneath the gums and can eat away at bone, oral tissue and tooth structure. Severe periodontal disease can also affect other organs, such as heart, liver and kidneys, as the disease progresses.

What is the difference between a pet dental cleaning at my vet or one at an anesthesia free dental clinic?

A veterinary dental cleaning involves a complete oral examination by a veterinarian, cleaning both above and below the gum line, and dental X-rays. Learn more about a veterinary dental cleaning. An anesthesia free dental cleaning is a non-veterinary procedure where a pet is restrained awake, while the visible portion of some surfaces of the teeth are scaled (scraped with an instrument). This does not clean your pet’s teeth and leaves your pet at risk for a progression of the remaining oral disease and future dental disease and problems.

Is anesthesia for dental cleanings safe?

Using correct anesthetic protocols and monitoring by a dedicated trained anesthetist at a veterinary hospital, pet anesthesia is very safe. Learn more about safe pet anesthesia and questions you should ask your veterinarian.

Why are veterinary pet dental cleanings more costly than the anesthesia free procedures at my groomer?

Put simply, when it comes to the procedure alone, you get what you pay for. A veterinarian provides a professional service that requires a great deal of training and experience with the pet’s health in mind. There are certainly more costs involved in anesthesia, equipment, x-rays and trained staff, which all amount to your pet getting a higher quality of care and ultimately maintaining a healthy mouth. Over the long term, extensive dental disease as a result of a pet not having cleanings or having anesthesia free cleanings can become far more expensive.

Do cats and dogs need the same type of cleanings?

The simple answer is yes. The key thing to remember is that both cats and dogs need regular veterinary dental care. Overall each need the same components of care, however since they have unique health care concerns and anatomy, it’s important they are in the care of a veterinary doctor who is experienced and able to identify specific disease in different species, such as feline tooth resorption, feline stomatitis, or oral cancers.