Veterinary Dentistry & Dental Surgery
Dental Care for Pets
For our pets, poor oral health can lead to more than painful teeth; it can also negatively impact their general health. This is why it's critical for cats and dogs to receive routine dental care as part of their healthcare regimen.
However, most pets don't receive the oral hygiene care they need to ensure their teeth and gums remain healthy.
At our Harrisburg veterinary clinic, we offer complete dental care for your pet, from basics including dental exams to teeth cleaning and polishing to dental surgeries.
We are also passionate about educating pet owners regarding home dental care for their pets.
Dental Surgery in Harrisburg
We understand that finding out that your pet needs dental surgery can feel overwhelming. This is why we strive to make the process as stress-free as possible, for you and your pet.
We'll do everything in our power to ensure your pet's time with us is easy and comfortable. Prior to the procedure, we'll explain each step of the process to you in detail, including preparation and post-operative care requirements.
We offer jaw fracture repair surgeries, gum disease treatment and tooth extractions for dogs and cats.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Like your yearly checkup at the dentist, your dog or cat should visit the vet for a dental examination at least annually. Pets that are more susceptible to dental problems than others may need to see us more frequently.
Colonial Park Animal Clinic can assess, diagnose and treat oral health issues in cats and dogs.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, it's time for a dental checkup.
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bad breath
- Tartar buildup
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
The vet will complete a thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment before performing the dental exam.
Blood and urine analyses will be taken to ensure your pet can safely undergo anesthesia. Additional diagnostics, such as chest radiographs or an EKG may also be conducted.
Once your pet is under anesthesia, we will conduct a complete oral examination (tooth by tooth) and charting.
Next, teeth will be cleaned and polished (including under the gumline) and X-Rays are taken. Fluoride is then applied to each tooth.
The final step is to apply a dental sealant to prevent plaque from attacking the enamel. If advanced periodontal disease is discovered, the veterinarian will create a treatment plan and review it with you.
Ideally, a follow-up examination will be scheduled two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment.
During this visit, we will discuss implementing teeth brushing at home. We can also recommend products that can help improve your pet's oral health.
FAQs About Pet Dental Care
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions our clients have had about pet dental care.
- Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
Just like us, our pets can develop periodontal disease or tooth decay as a result of poor oral health.
When animals eat, plaque gets stuck to their teeth and may build up into tartar if not regularly brushed away.
This can cause infections in the mouth, tooth decay, periodontal disease and even loose or missing teeth. That's why regular dental care is critical to preventing pain or disease in the gums.
- How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Did you know your pet's behavior can indicate oral health issues? If your pet is experiencing dental problems, you may notice them pawing at their mouth or teeth and they may drool excessively (and the drool may contain pus or blood). They may also stop grooming sufficiently, yawn excessively or grind their teeth.
Other signs of oral health problems include discoloured teeth, swollen gums and bad breath. Some pets may even suffer from pain that keeps them from eating. Read more about symptoms under Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams.
- What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?
Besides causing problems ranging from cavities and bad breath to severe periodontal disease, oral health issues and conditions can lead to disease in the liver, kidney, heart, and other areas throughout your pet's body.
Cysts or tumors may develop. Your pet may also not feel well in general (if you've ever had a toothache, you know how it can affect your mood!). In addition, diseases related to oral health conditions can shorten the lifespan of your pet and cause significant pain.
This is why regular dental care is so essential to animals' physical health and wellbeing.
- What should I do at home to keep my pet’s teeth clean between dental appointments?
At home, you should brush your pet's teeth on a regular basis and give them dental chew toys. These will help eliminate plaque.
Do not allow them to chew on things that will damage their teeth, such as bones, toys or objects that are too hard. Always contact your vet with any questions or concerns regarding your pet's oral health.
- What happens during a pet teeth cleaning appointment?
During your pet’s regular oral exam, the vet will examine his or her mouth and look for oral health conditions or any symptoms needing treatment.
The vet will clean tartar and other debris from your cat's or dog's teeth. If cavities, gingivitis, or other conditions need to be addressed, the vet will explain these to you and provide advice on which actions you should take.
In some cases, surgery will be needed to treat serious conditions. Your pet will be provided with anesthesia before their dental procedure to ensure they are comfortable and do not experience any pain. However, special care will be needed post-surgery.
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a dental appointment with us.
Veterinary Dentistry: Anesthesia & Your Pet's Oral Health
Since dogs and cats do not understand what is happening during dental procedures, they will often react to them by biting or struggling.
Human dentists sometimes provide anesthesia to anxious or nervous patients. Likewise, our vets in Harrisburg provide anesthesia to all of our patients before they perform dental procedures. This puts less stress on the animals and allows us to X-ray their mouth as needed.