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Annual dental exams and cleanings are recommended to protect your pet from many health problems and help them maintain a healthy and clean mouth.


Studies show that 50% of all dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. That number jumps to 80% in pets that are 3 years of age or older. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause infection, pain, and tooth loss over time. It can also lead to serious health problems like microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys. Because of this, we recommend an annual veterinary dental healthcare examination for all pets.

Why do pets need dental care?

Many health problems start in the mouth. Plaque, tartar, periodontal disease, and infected teeth serve as a source of inflammation and infection for the rest of the body.

Dental disease is one of the most common problems that we see in dogs and cats. It can cause drooling, reluctance to eat, swelling, bad breath, redness of the gums, loose teeth and tooth discoloration.

When should I seek dental care for my pet?

Dental issues and dental related diseases can easily be prevented by visiting our veterinarians regularly for dental examinations and cleanings. We take a comprehensive approach to dental care including dental health assessment, treatment, and prevention.

How does it work?

Teeth Exams, Cleaning and Polishing

Dog and cat dental cleanings are very similar to human dental cleanings, except that we are required to use anesthesia to properly and safely examine and clean the teeth. After the cleaning, our veterinarians perform a thorough oral exam and check for signs of disease like gum loss, root exposure, or pockets around the root.

Also similar to human dentistry, we do full mouth radiographs (x-rays) of your pet. This allows our veterinarians to be able to evaluate the roots of your pet's teeth as well as any disease or abnormalities that are located below the gum line and not visible on examination alone.

Tooth Extractions

We make every effort to save teeth that we feel have a chance to be successfully treated. In many circumstances, however, periodontal disease is so advanced that treatment without extraction is unsuccessful. We only extract teeth that in the doctor's opinion are beyond saving.

Minor Oral Surgery

Many teeth require oral surgery to safely remove each individual root. We have extensive training and experience to perform these procedures properly. Pain medications are administered in clinic and provided for in-home aftercare.

Understanding Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and tissues holding the teeth in place. It is caused by an excess buildup of plaque, a bacterial film, on the teeth. When plaque dies, it hardens and turns into tartar which allows for more surface area to accumulate and turn into periodontal disease. Daily brushing can help remove plaque before it turns into tartar. Once it has become tartar, it can only be removed professionally through an anesthetic dental cleaning performed by a veterinary professional. Dental radiographs will be necessary to determine the extent of periodontal disease present below the gum line.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include:

  • Bloody saliva or blood in your pet’s water dish

  • Loose teeth

  • Bad breath

  • Difficulty eating or avoiding eating altogether

If you notice any combination of the above symptoms in your pet, don’t wait. Bring them in to see us at Valwood Animal Hospital so we can help restore their smile!

Professional Dental Cleanings for Your Pet

If your Dallas veterinarian determines that your pet needs a professional dental cleaning, we can take care of your pet onsite at Valwood Animal Hospital. As an AAHA-accredited practice, we are fully equipped with the latest anesthesia monitoring equipment to keep your pet safe throughout the procedure.

A professional dental cleaning includes:

  • Pre-anesthetic oral exam – Before we begin, your veterinarian will evaluate your pet’s oral health.

  • Anesthesia monitoring – During the procedure, we will place your pet under general anesthesia and a dedicated technician will constantly monitor their vital signs.

  • Scaling and polishing – Our veterinary team will use tools similar to those used by human dentists to remove plaque from your pet’s teeth and to smooth and polish the tooth enamel.

After your pet’s dental cleaning, your Dallas veterinarian will provide you with thorough aftercare instructions. Maintenance is key to keeping your pet smiling for years to come!