1350 Kootenay Street
V5K 4R1 Canada
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday: 8am - 6pm
Weekends & Holidays: Closed
Our office will be closed the week of May 20 - 24th as our staff and doctors attend the World Veterinary Dental Congress
Things You Should Know When Taking Your
Pet to the Dentist
The first and foremost question to answer is “Why take your
pet to the dentist/veterinarian?” Pets, like people, may
suffer from periodontal disease, which is responsible for
oral inflammation and if untreated it will cause the loss
of teeth. Periodontal infection present around the teeth
may spread to the rest of the animal's body when the bacteria
in the mouth enter the blood and become circulated. Dental
disease rarely makes the patient “sick” but it can shorten
the life span of the pet by as much as two years. In humans,
not flossing alone, may shorten a person's life by 6.4 years.
So taking care of your pet's teeth is a long term investment
in your pets health. (i.e.: healthier and longer lives).
Why go to the veterinarian?
Dentistry means dental procedures that affect the oral health
of an animal and can only legally be performed by a veterinarian.
Removing the tartar visible on the crowns is not nearly
enough. Periodontal disease is always infectious and is
most severe under the gums. To reach these areas safely,
the patient must be placed under general anesthesia. Removing
tartar on an animal that is awake provides only cosmetic
improvement. It does absolutely nothing to improve the health
of the patient and should not be called dentistry.
What is involved in dental cleaning?
Every day plaque is deposited on the teeth . If they are
not brushed, the bacteria cause inflammation that result
in bad breath (halitosis), loss of support, formation of
pockets, root exposures and ultimately, loss of teeth. Plaque
transforms into calculus or tartar. This is a brown, mineralized
deposit, easily seen on the surface of the crowns. Even
good, daily brushing will not completely prevent formation
of calculus. Metal dental instruments are required to remove
it. This is where a professional cleaning becomes necessary.
First, the teeth are probed and inspected. Then tartar and
plaque are removed using scalers and curettes. Often an
ultrasonic unit is used to facilitate and speed up the process.
The teeth are then polished with pumice and rinsed.
Are professional cleanings enough to maintain oral health
The answer is the same as with people. No! Periodontal disease
never stops. Plaque is continuously deposited and the only
way to control it is to brush at least twice a day. The
same is true for our pets. Because plaque deposits in a
matter of hours, periodontal disease control has to be done
at home with soft tooth brush and veterinarian approved
How often should a pet undergo a professional cleaning?
There are individual variations, but once again the answer
is similar to what is done on the human side. In order to
control periodontal disease efficiently, a pet should have
a dental exam every 6 months and a cleaning every 6 to 12
months. If the patient suffers from established periodontal
disease loose teeth may result. Consequently, dental visits
should be set at more frequent intervals.
What other dental conditions often arise?
Dogs are prone to breaking teeth. Often they do not show
any discomfort but if the pulp of the tooth is exposed,
it gets infected and the tooth dies. Untreated, this condition
results in the development of chronic abscesses and damages
other organs in the body. So a fractured tooth should never
be ignored, no matter how happy the dog is. Until recently
the only option was to extract the tooth. Now root canal
treatments are available. The procedure is similar to what
is done with human teeth. The pulp chamber is accessed and
the canal is cleaned and shaped. All the necrotic tissues
are removed before sealing the canal at both ends. It allows
the tooth to continue to function without any ongoing infection.
Cats are prone to specific condition called
Resorptive Lesions. It causes formation of erosive (i.e.
“pitting”) defects. These defects damage the dentin and
result in broken, infected, painful teeth. The lesions can
propagate inside the roots with minimal crown damage. Because
there may be little to see, dental radiographs are essential
to diagnose this condition correctly.
Other conditions sometimes seen include foreign bodies (i.e.
Pieces of wood) stuck between teeth causing abscesses, malocclusions
(the teeth do not meet properly), fractured jaws and, unfortunately,
various types of cancer. Many of these problems are often
discovered when the pet is brought for a dental cleaning.
Owners that clean their pets' teeth regularly discover these
problems earlier, making treatment simpler.
How much does dental cleaning cost?
This is the most frequently asked question and while it
is an important one, even more important is what does the
cost include? To perform a thorough COHAT (Complete Oral
Health Assessment and Treatment) the pet needs to be anaesthetized.
Cosmetic, non-anaesthesia "dentistry's" are performed without
drugs or medications because only a licensed veterinarian
is permitted to administer drugs to an animal. Anaesthetic
protocols are determined according to each animals specifications;
age, weight, health concerns, etc. Intravenous fluids are
administered via catheter through out the procedure which
ensures that your pet is well hydrated, aiding in a stable
anaesthesia and speedy recovery.
Pre-anaesthetic blood screening is recommended prior to
a procedure, something that can be done through your regular
veterinarian or in our own lab on the day of your pets appointment.
If recent blood work is available from another veterinary
hospital we will not need to repeat it. With middle age
and older pets we strongly suggest chest radiographs to
look for signs of pulmonary disease, cardiac disease, masses
Dental radiographs are crucial in determining the best course
of action as the majority of dental problems are found below
the gum line. We take digital radiographs to determine the
presence of tooth root abscesses, root resorption, bone
degenerations, root fragments, fractures extending from
the tooth crown and many other causes for concern.
Injectable medication, such as antibiotics and pain control,
may also be administered during a procedure and additional
medications may be sent home with your pet. Our goal is
to keep your pet healthy and pain free and our medication
recommendations will be based on each pets particular issue,
we will use whichever drugs best meet their needs.
The bottom line is, it is not what you pay, but what kind
of service your pet receives that really counts. Dentistry
in animals follows the same philosophy as in human beings;
it is much easier and cheaper to maintain a healthy mouth
than to try to fix an infected, diseased one. To achieve
that goal, daily brushing associated with regular veterinary
check-ups is what works best.
For actual costs of procedures, we will do our best to provide
you with an accurate estimate at the time of your consultation.