Pet Dental Care and Teeth Cleaning

Nearly 80 percent of dogs and cats over five years old suffer from some degree of periodontal (dental) disease–including gum inflammation, tooth fractures/decay, loose teeth, oral abscesses or a combination of all these conditions.

Pet dental health is often overlooked because dogs, cats and other animals tend to conceal painful conditions, especially those inside their mouth. Unless dog and cat owners take their pets to their Rancho Cucamonga veterinarian for regular pet teeth cleanings, they won’t know if their pet is experiencing oral diseases detrimental to the animal’s overall health and well-being.

Signs Your Pet May Need Pet Dental Care

One of the first signs of gum and dental disease in pets is chronic halitosis, or bad breath. While it’s common for dogs and cats to have “pet food” breath after eating, they should not have bad breath continuously or breath that smells extremely foul. In addition, if you notice your pet chewing his food less forcefully, making an odd noise while chewing or shaking his head frequently (especially with dogs), you should seek pet dental treatment by a vet in Rancho Cucamonga. Saliva mixed with blood is another symptom of possible gum disease, tooth decay or infected abscesses.
Pet dentists caution pet owners about neglecting their pet’s oral health. Not only will dental pain and loose teeth prevent your pet from receiving proper nutrition but may also lead to systemic infection when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream.

Dental Tables

Dental X-ray

Taking X-Rays

Pet Dental Equipment

For dog teeth cleanings and dental care, we use high- and low-speed handpieces for drilling and polishing, ultrasonic scalers for deep cleaning of teeth, and dental x-ray machines to capture digital images of your dog’s teeth and gums.

For cat teeth cleanings, we rely on the same state-of-the-art equipment to remove plaque and tartar from feline teeth and repair broken teeth. In addition, Rancho Cucamonga pet dental care specialists Dr. Shufer and Dr. Henderson have completed advanced training concerning pet dental care and treatment of animal oral diseases.

We also offer root canal therapy and dental crown applications to reduce extraction procedures and oral tumor removal.

How to Perform Pet Teeth Cleanings at Home

In between visits to your vet in Rancho Cucamonga, you can help keep your pet’s teeth clean, his gums healthy and his breath smelling fresh by brushing your pet’s teeth daily. It only takes one or two days for bacteria to accumulate on feline or canine teeth and harden into tartar.

We recommend using C.E.T Poultry-Flavored toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth and either a fingerbrush, pet toothbrush or dental pad for cleaning teeth and gums. If you’re not sure how to begin brushing your pet’s teeth at home, we will be happy to show you how it is done. Read more about it here.

Call Alta Rancho Pet & Bird Hospital today to schedule a complete dental cleaning and examination with a veterinarian in Rancho Cucamonga: (909) 980-3575

Root Canal

Root canal therapy is a dental procedure used to preserve a tooth which has been damaged resulting in exposure of the tooth root canal (the structure in the center of the tooth which provides access to blood and nervous supply to the tooth) to the outside. If a tooth is fractured, and the root canal is exposed, bacteria from the mouth can enter the canal and cause an infection and subsequent abscess. Teeth have one to three root canals depending on the structure and size of the tooth.

When performing a root canal procedure, our veterinarian goals are:

  • To remove the existing pulp and nerve so that the pet loses any pain sensation from the tooth.
  • To sterilize the inside of the tooth to prevent infection
  • To fill the root canal with an inert substance which will seal the tip of the tooth root to prevent bacteria from entering or exiting the tooth.
  • To seal the access holes used to perform the root canal
  • To protect the tooth with a metal or porcelain crown.

The procedure is done under gas anesthesia and may take from 1.5 to 2 hours to perform. Once your pet is anesthetized, the following steps are taken:

  • Holes are drilled in the tooth to allow access to the root canals.
  • The nerve and the pulp are extracted from the canal using special instrumentation.
  • The canal is then cleaned and shaped with files to allow for proper sealing.
  • Diluted bleach is then used to sterilize the inside of the canal.
  • An inert material is then forced into the canal and packed into the tip to seal the tooth.
  • The access holes are then sealed using UV-light activated bonding agents.

In some cases, the procedure may be stopped here. However in most cases, the tooth is then prepared for a metallic crown, which will protect the tooth from cracking. To do this, the following steps are taken:

  • The tooth is contoured to provide a lip upon which the crown will sit.
  • An impression of the tooth is taken using standard dental impression materials.
  • The impression is sent to the lab where a perfectly fitting crown is created.
  • When the crown is returned to us, your pet is re-anesthetized and the crown is cemented in place.

Tooth after root canal therapy

Tooth with metallic crown applied

Frequently Asked Questions

Your pet can benefit from dental care in much the same way that you benefit from dental care. Pet teeth and gums need to be taken care of, and if they’re not, your pet can develop painful dental conditions. To help you out, we’re posting these frequently asked questions about pet dental care that we received from our clients from Alta Loma, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Ontario, Claremont, Fontana, and the Inland Empire, CA.

Q. What will the veterinarian do for my pet’s teeth?

A. Our veterinarians will examine your pet’s teeth and clean the teeth above and below the gum line. He or she will also take X-rays to identify any dental problems your pet may be having.

Q. Can my pet get cavities?

A. Pets can get cavities, just like people. If your pet gets a cavity, our veterinarians will fill the cavity with a tooth filling material.

Q. How will the veterinarians get my pet to cooperate during the dental exams?

A. Many veterinarians will use anesthesia to help ensure the pet is comfortable and relaxed during dental procedures. This makes the dental procedure safer for the vet as well as the patient.

Q. What can I do to take care of my pet’s teeth?

A. With proper training, most pets should allow you to brush their teeth. To do this, you’ll need to purchase a pet toothbrush specifically made to fit in your pet’s mouth. You’ll also need to buy toothpaste specifically designed for pets. Never use human toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth, because fluoride can have negative effects on your pet.

It may take time before your pet is comfortable having his or her teeth brushed. Training your pet to accept the tooth brushing procedure may be easier when your pet is younger.

Start by lifting your pet’s lip and touching his or her teeth for short periods of time. Once your pet is used to this behavior, let your pet taste toothpaste. When your pet is comfortable being touched on his or her teeth and likes the taste of toothpaste, that’s when you can start using the toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth. For more specific instructions on how to train your pet to allow you to brush his or her teeth, call us at (909) 980-3575.

Q. How can I tell if my pet’s teeth are unhealthy?

A. There are many warning signs of pet dental disease. A few of the most obvious signs are:

  • Bad breath
  • Discolorations on the gum or teeth
  • Difficulty eating
  • Loose teeth or missing teeth

Q. How often should my pet’s teeth be professionally cleaned?

A. Many pets have their teeth cleaned annually, but our veterinarians will tell you exactly how often your pet should have dental care.

For more information about veterinary and dental care in Alta Loma, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Ontario, Claremont, Fontana, and the Inland Empire, CA, contact Alta Rancho Pet & Bird Hospital at (909) 980-3575.