Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my pet need a dental exam?

An exam by a veterinarian is important to establish the overall health of your pet before anesthesia for dentistry. An exam also allows the most accurate estimate of the treatment plan to be provided for your pet.

Why is anesthesia needed for pet dentistry?

Anesthesia is necessary for several reasons:

  1. To Keep the pet from moving during the procedure
  2. So the pet isn’t aware and frightened
  3. So a thorough cleaning, including under the gum line, can be done
  4. So X-rays can be taken to evaluate the entire tooth and jawbone
Why don’t you do non-anesthetic cleanings, like I’ve seen done by some groomers and others not working in a veterinary hospital or clinic?

There are many reasons, here are a few:

  1. It can be painful or dangerous for your pet
  2. Proper X-rays and Cleanings under the gum line cannot be done
  3. It is illegal to practice Veterinary medicine without a license in Arizona, unless supervised by a licensed Veterinarian. This is why many hand scalers travel.
  4. Extractions cannot be done when needed
When should my pet start getting dental exams?

Dental exams should start at 5 to 6 months old to make sure all baby/deciduous teeth have fallen out and that tooth alignment is good. Some painful problems can be avoided with early intervention. Dental exams on adult pets should happen every 6-12 months.

At what age should my pet get their first dental cleaning?

Most small breed dogs have gingivitis by the age of 1. Their first dental should occur between 9 months -1-year-old, even if no problems are seen. Cats and medium to large breed dogs should get their first dental between 1 ½ -2 years old. Don’t wait until you see a problem to seek care, it may be too late. Early intervention and prevention are key to lifelong oral health.

Why do you extract or pull teeth?

Our goal is to remove pain and infection from your pet’s mouth. We pull teeth that are broken, abscessed, infected, in stage 4 periodontal disease (end-stage), or are otherwise causing oral pain or infection. It is not fun or easy to extract teeth and we will only recommend extractions when necessary. Some teeth could be saved by a specialist upon referral – like root canals, crowns, and restorations.

What is a surgical extraction?

A surgical extraction is done when a tooth is difficult to extract because of size (canine teeth), multiple roots (most premolars and all molars), or situation (fractured roots). These extractions take extra time and skill by the surgeon to raise a flap, extract the tooth and close with sutures in a proper fashion to speed healing.

How often should I brush my pet’s teeth?

Every day is ideal for tooth brushing. Every other day may be adequate, but any less than that can be ineffective and even painful for your pet.

If I brush my pet’s teeth, why do they need a full dental procedure?

Just like with people, getting a thorough cleaning (including under the gum line), oral charting and identification of problem areas, and dental X-rays are important for overall health. Some problems can only be seen on X-ray or when the pet isn’t moving, especially if those problems are painful.

What can I do for my pet if I can’t brush their teeth?

The most important thing you can do is get regular, proper dental cleanings. The other products you can use are oral rinses, water additives, dental chews, food additives, and dental diets. Finding what works for you and your pet is most important.

Why is blood work recommended or required before a dental procedure?

Because anesthesia is necessary for proper pet dentistry, blood work is frequently recommended prior to the procedure. We want everything to be safe for your pet. Blood work checks the blood counts (anemia, infections, etc.) and chemistries (kidneys, liver, blood sugar, proteins, electrolytes, and even pancreas, minerals, and thyroid hormone). These values may change what medications we chose while at the clinic and being sent home with your pet.

Why are dental X-rays important?

Dental X-rays are a great tool to help the doctor evaluate the health of a tooth and Jaw. Many painful problems can only be seen with X-ray: fractures, deep infections, abscesses, tumors, cysts, impacted teeth, retained (broken off) roots, as well as helping the Veterinarian know that an extraction is complete (all the root is gone).

How do you keep your prices so low?

By focusing on only dentistry and wellness care, we eliminate a lot of overhead costs in purchasing and maintaining expensive equipment required at a full service veterinary clinic. We buy from the same suppliers, use the same products and have to pass the same inspections by the Arizona Veterinary Examining Board as all Veterinary clinics.