Pet Dental Care | South Towne Veterinary Hospital | New York Vet

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Dental Cleanings and Extractions:

It is very important to keep your pets teeth clean of tartar and plaque.  More than 8 out 10 dogs and cats over 4 years of age suffer from periodontal disease, a condition in which bacteria attack the soft gum tissue.  Even when teeth appear healthy, bacteria can build up in spaces between teeth and gums.  It is not just a bad breath problem; it can cause discomfort and be a health risk.  Research clearly shows that Dental Prophylaxis is one of the most important things you can do to add length and quality to your pets life.  Please feel free to contact us for further information.

A Basic Dental Cleaning Procedure:

Step 1: Examination

We first recommend an examination by a Veterinarian to be sure there are no underlying issues that will interfere with anesthesia or create needless risk.  The exam gives us an opportunity to answer any questions you may have.  It also gives the doctor a chance to examine your pet’s mouth to see if antibiotics may be needed prior to surgery.

We strongly recommend all pets have pre anesthetic bloodwork performed to check liver and kidney and to check for possible underlying issues that may not be diagnosed with a physical exam.  We require all pets to have intravenous fluid support before and during general anesthesia.

Step 2: Pre Anesthetic Injection

The exact method of anesthesia and drug dosage varies with each pet’s size, age, state of health, and even with his personality.  We want our patients to be calm so that the use of general anesthetic agents can be minimized.  Pets should remain peaceful during their anesthetic recovery but not have a drug hangover the following day.  Pre anesthetic medications such as sedatives allow us to achieve these goals.

Step 3: General Anesthesia 

For dogs, we usually induce anesthesia with a combination of ketamine (sedative) and diazepam (anti-anxiety medication) by intravenous injection.  After our patient is asleep, we pass a breathing tube down the windpipe and switch over to isoflurane, a inhalant anesthetic.

Cats are most often anesthetized with an intravenous injection of ketamine (sedative) and acepromazine, a tranquilizer that helps ensure a pleasant and calm recovery.  They are also intubated to allow delivery of isoflurane.

Step 4: Maintenance and Monitoring

Today, progressive practices use a pulse oximeter, which continuously monitors the blood oxygen level.  The pulse oximeter sounds an alarm if there is even a small change from normal oxygen levels, allowing the veterinarian to respond before serious problems have a chance develop.

Step 5: Removal of Heavy Tartar Deposits

Using an ultrasonic scaler, we remove the visible external tartar deposits – that hard brownish material that forms along the gum line.

Step 6: Extraction of Severely Diseased Teeth

 At this stage, the Veterinarian carefully examine the teeth.  Any teeth diseased past the point of saving are removed.  There may be none, or many.  Teeth are never extracted when we are in doubt, but if you can wiggle a tooth with your fingers and puss comes up out of the root socket, it needs to be removed.

Step 7: Root Planing (Smoothing)

The most important part of having your teeth cleaned is that unpleasant scraping part.  Hidden tartar deposits under the gum line push healthy tissue away from the root, giving bacteria a place to live and grow.  Removing the tartar helps gums stay healthy.

Step 8: Polishing

 A tooth cleaning leaves a lot of microscopic scratches and roughness on the tooth surface, which provide places for tartar to form.  Polishing the teeth smoothes this surface, making it more resistant.

Step 9: Periodontitis

For advanced cases of gum disease, (periodontitis), veterinarians now have a new antibiotic gel.  After thoroughly cleaning the affected areas, we apply antibiotic gel into diseased gum spaces using a micro-sized caulking gun.  Once in place, the gel hardens up and sticks there.  Over the next two weeks, as the gel dissolves, it emits an antibiotic that kills bacteria and provides the loose infected gum tissue with an opportunity to reattach.

After You Go Home:

Please follow any specific instructions that the Doctor has given for your pet.  Other general home care that may be recommended could include routine tooth brushing, special dental diets, oral flushes, and even monthly antibiotics in the case of severe dental disease.

Although brushing your pet’s teeth may at first seem difficult, many animals will accept the procedure if proper techniques are used.  Our veterinarians and technicians can assist you in learning these.  If brushing is not possible, proper toys and treats as well as antibacterial flushes can help keep your pet’s teeth disease free and its breath smelling fresher.

In Conclusion

We feel that by understanding your pet’s dental health care program we can make it as beneficial as possible for both you and your pet.  If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to discuss them with us.