Dental care is vital to the overall health of any animal. Dental disease, if left untreated, can cause infection, pain, and tooth decay over time. It can also lead to major health issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease. In spite of these disturbing facts, greater than 70% of pets over the age of three years old suffer from some form of dental disease, making it the most common pet health issue among our pet population. Fortunately, many dental problems can be prevented or managed through at-home care and by bringing your pet to us for regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings. At West Orange Animal Hospital, our goal is for your pet to live a long and healthy life. We are committed to our patients’ dental health and implement the highest quality dental care.

Signs of dental disease

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose, chipped/broken or missing teeth
  • Plaque build-up or discolored teeth
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Trouble eating or chewing with only one side of the mouth
  • Facial swelling

Preventative care options

  • Home brushing
  • Dental chews
  • Dental diet

Dental cleanings

Dog and cat dental cleanings are similar to human cleanings except the need for general anesthesia in order to properly and safely examine and clean your pet’s teeth. Our dental services include teeth cleaning and polishing – as well as tooth extractions and minor oral surgery if indicated. At West Orange Animal Hospital, we have state-of-the-art dental equipment including digital dental x-rays, modern ultrasonic dental scaler, and the latest anesthesia monitoring equipment.

Before anesthesia

A thorough physical examination will be performed to ensure your pet is in good health prior to surgery. We recommend blood work for all patients prior to surgery in order to screen for any abnormalities that may complicate general anesthesia. If your pet is > 8 years old, we recommend a pre-op electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) to ensure that your pet’s heart is functioning properly before anesthesia. Additional diagnostics, such as x-ray, ultrasound, and/or echocardiogram may be indicated depending on our findings.

Dental x-ray

Digital dental x-rays are useful to diagnose disease below the gum line including retained tooth roots or jaw fractures. For most dental cleanings, we typically recommend that dental x-rays be taken to ensure that any major issues are taken care of at the time of the cleaning.

Ultrasonic scaling dental cleaning

Our modern ultrasonic dental scaler uses high-frequency sound waves to knock off plaque and tartar buildup above and below the gum line of each individual tooth. After the cleaning, a polish is used to create a radiant surface that is more resistant to plaque buildup.

Tooth extractions and oral surgery

Following the cleaning, a thorough oral exam will be performed by your veterinarian to assess for signs of extensive dental disease. Our doctors make every effort to save your pet’s teeth, however, in many circumstances the dental disease is so advanced that treatment without extraction is unsuccessful. Many extracted teeth require oral surgery to safely remove each tooth and their individual roots. Our doctors have the equipment, training and experience to perform these procedures properly.