FAQ About Your Pet's Dental Health

If you are ready to learn what is included in the cost of a dental cleaning, click here to find out!

Take a moment to read these important facts about your pet's dental health!

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Cleaning

Why Does My Pet Have Bad Breath?breath

Halitosis can come from several different sources. The most common source is the mouth. Some of these bacteria produce sulfur compounds as waste products which impart an unpleasant smell to the breath. Normal breath in dogs and cats should not smell bad, but may smell of the food they just ate. Another source for bad breath can be kidney or stomach disease, which should be ruled out by your veterinarian. If they just ate something odiferous their breath may smell bad temporarily, but should clear in an hour or so.  Most often, the cause source of persistent bad smelling breath is overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. 

My pet has dirty teeth. I have tried cleaning them myself with canine toothpaste and brush, but it doesn’t seem to help much. I do not want my pet to undergo general anesthesia. Is there anything else I can do?

Teeth must be cleaned to remove calculus and plaque. Bleeding gums is a sign of gingivitis and developing periodontal disease. While daily brushing is necessary and recommended, it cannot keep all the teeth entirely clean indefinitely. Animals, just like humans, must have periodic professional cleanings. To do this thoroughly and completely, anesthesia is necessary.

How do you evaluate my pet's teeth?

The doctor evaluates your pet's teeth on a scale of 1 to 4 with 1 being minor dental disease and 4 being substantial dental disease.  Take a look at the charts below for examples of each grade of dental disease in both dogs and cats.

dental disease chart feline

Why do you use anesthesia to clean my pet's teeth?  I have heard about clinic’s that do it while they would be would be awake?  Isn't that the same?

Non-anesthetic cleaning is only a cosmetic action. It may clean the surface you see, but 2/3 of an animal’s tooth is below the gum line where you can’t see it and so is 2/3 of the disease which can cause tooth loss and pain. Therefore an appropriate professional cleaning visit involves anesthesia to allow a thorough examination and diagnosis, dental x-rays to assess bone and tooth root health, scaling, polishing, and a fluoride treatment, by a trained, experienced, qualified veterinarian.

Are taking x-rays of the teeth important?  How much does it cost?

Yes! Dental radiographs (x-rays) are one of the most important diagnostic tools available to our veterinarians!  Dental x-rays allow the internal anatomy of your pet’s teeth which are the roots and the bone that surrounds the roots to be examined.  Dental radiographs are taken using digital sensors placed inside your pet's mouth and provide a superior quality image for examination of individual teeth or sections of the jaws.  In fact, at Healthy Pet we have the ability to take digital dental x-rays which allows the veterinarian superior image quality and the ability to enhance the images to diagnose potential problems.  Radiographs allow for a much more accurate diagnosis of dental disease and provide a base line for diagnosis of future dental issues.  The cost of dental x-rays is determined by the size of your pet.  The cost for a cat is less than the cost for a large dog like a greyhound, but the cost is very affordable.  We want you to take advantage of this incredible technology.

We strongly recommend full mouth dental x-rays.  It is the only way to find underlying problems not visible to the naked eye.

What types of monitors do you use for anesthesia?

At Healthy Pet Veterinary Clinic, we are proud to say that we offer the latest technology in surgical monitoring to keep your pet safe during anesthesia.  Our patients are monitored with a pulse-oximeter, which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood; a blood-pressure monitor, an electrocardio-gram, and a CO2 monitor, which measures the amount of exhaled carbon dioxide, body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate. The doctor and technicians monitor all of these parameters simultaneously and will be immediately aware of a change in your pet's condition while under anesthesia.

What is the risk of anesthesia?

Generally, anesthesia poses less risk than most people think. In the past two decades anesthetic agents have become safer and when used properly are very safe. 

Is my pet too old for anesthesia?

For older animals the actual risk needs to be evaluated by the doctor because each patient is different. Blood profiles, chest x-rays, and other tests may be performed before the procedure to fully evaluate the risk. But most older pets can undergo anesthesia without problems.

Why does it cost so much just to clean my pet's teeth?  It's the same as me going in for a cleaning at the dentist right?

As some of the previous answers just described, cleaning your pet’s teeth is much closer to a full surgical procedure than a trip to the dentist’s office for a human.  During your pet’s dental cleaning procedure, no less than three highly trained professionals are caring for your pet.  In addition to our trained and dedicated personnel, we use some of the latest technology to keep your pet safe while under anesthesia.

I think my pet might need to have their teeth looked at.  What do I do next?

That's easy!  Give us a call at 608-294-9494 and we will schedule a pre-surgical evaluation.  During the pre-surgical evaluation our veterinarian will give your pet a full physical exam and fully educate you about the dental procedure.  The technicians and veterinarian will explain what will happen with your pet on the day of the dental procedure and inform you of any potential risks.  Depending on the age and health of your pet, the veterinarian may recommend other diagnostic testing to be done before your pet has their dental cleaning.  A pre-anesthetic chemistry panel with complete blood count (CBC) is included in the cost of the dental cleaning.  This is done to maximize patient safety and alert our staff to the presence of dehydration, diabetes, kidney or liver disease in your pet which could complicate the procedure. The CBC will show if your pet has adequate oxygen carrying capacity, and to diagnose potential infection or anemia. These tests are also helpful for creating a baseline that may allow for faster, more accurate diagnoses in the event that your pet's health were to change in the future.

What is included in the cost of a dental treatment?

Click here and you'll see everything that is included in the cost of a dental treatment for your pet.


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Healthy Pet Veterinary Clinic


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8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


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