Pet Dental Care Isn’t Much Different from Humans

Dental care is a very important part in the overall well-being of your pet. Not only can poor dental health cause problems in the mouth (gingivitis, tooth loss, infection, etc.) it can also lead to damage in other organs (heart, liver, and kidneys).





What Happens During Your Pet’s Dental Cleaning?

A dental cleaning for your pet is very similar to the type of cleaning you receive at the dentist. The teeth are scaled over the entire surface, even under the gum line, to remove tartar and plaque. A pet safe dental polish is then used to smooth the surface of the teeth to diminish the ability for additional plaque to form. The mouth is then rinsed to remove dislodged tartar and the bacteria that accompany it. The teeth are then treated with fluoride which decreases sensitivity, strengthens enamel, and decreases the ability of future plaque formation. After cleaning, the veterinarian examines the oral cavity and each tooth individually.

To safely examine and clean the teeth pets need to be sedated and placed under general anesthesia. During this process, your pet is under careful supervision.  Unlike at your dentist’s office, a tube is placed in their trachea (throat) to maintain their airway and prevent water and particles from being aspirated (inhaled).

Removing tartar from the teeth can reveal problems such as loose teeth, tooth fractures, cavities, and infection. Sometimes, extracting teeth is necessary. Removing problem teeth is beneficial to the pet before they cause additional or more serious issues.


Concerned about your pet losing a tooth?

Cats and dogs do well with missing teeth. Most eat their hard food and chew on their toys or treats normally after they heal. Occasionally when multiple teeth are extracted, soft food is recommended for a few days and also pain meds to keep the pet comfortable.


Your Pet’s Dental Care Appointment

At Bemidji Veterinary Hospital, we schedule dental procedures Monday through Friday. We have you drop your pet off with us in the mornings between 7:30-8:00. We ask that you withhold food from your pet after about 8 PM the night before, but water is fine up until the time of sedation. Give regular medications as prescribed unless directed otherwise. The pet needs to remain in the hospital until fully recovered from anesthesia, which usually takes until early afternoon depending on the patient.

We offer pre-anesthetic blood work that checks such things as liver and kidney functions for any indication of disease which may prohibit them from receiving normal anesthetic protocol. If there is an abnormal finding on their blood work, our team may need to take certain precautions with anesthesia. This screening may enable us to detect diseases in the early stages and treat accordingly.


Dental care is important for your pet’s overall health. We’d be happy to take a look at your pet’s teeth to determine whether a dental cleaning is necessary. To schedule an exam or dental cleaning, stop in or give us a call at 751-2753.