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Author // Tim Wheaton: Office & Media Manager Categories // My Pets Dr Blog, cat health, dog health


Monty Lab GreyboyAt What Age Should My Pet Start Getting Cleanings? 
The age of pets requiring dental cleanings varies but typically by two years of age, we have enough tartar present that it is time.

How Often Does My Pet Need Teeth Cleanings?
Small breed dogs may need their teeth cleaned every 3 to 6 months. Most pets will need their teeth cleaned yearly.


What Is The Average Cost Of Pet Dental Services?
Non-anesthetic dental services can range from $170 & up. Price is based on severity of cleaning & how often you have your pet’s dentals done.  Requires RVTs dental evaluation (free) – must have had doctors exam within year of dental service. 
Anesthetic dental services can range from $300 & up. Price is based on need for extractions, severity of cleaning & how often you have your pet’s dentals done. Service includes fluids, anesthesia, and dental scaling (teeth cleaning). Extractions are additional. Requires a complimentary RVTs dental evaluation – must have had doctors exam within a year & bloodwork within 3 months of dental service.

smilingcatWhat happens if I don’t clean my pet’s teeth?
Tartar buildup is a result of bacterial infection in the mouth, which causes irritation of the gums around the base of the teeth (gingivitis), resulting in exposure of the roots.  Ultimately this leads to infection and tooth loss.  Infected gums and teeth aren't just a problem in the mouth -- the heart, kidneys, intestinal tract, and joints may also be affected. The tartar and any infected areas of the mouth contain a multitude of bacteria than can 'seed' to other parts of the body. What might even be worse is the strain on many body systems that chronic inflammation causes.  With regular dental care, you can prevent some of these more serious side effects.

If tartar is allowed to remain on the teeth, several things may happen:

  • It will push the gums away from the roots of the teeth allowing the teeth to loosen in their sockets and infection to enter the root socket.  The teeth will loosen and fall out or have to be extracted.   FYI:  Dogs start out with 28 deciduous (baby) teeth, cats start out with 26 deciduous teeth.  By six months of age, these baby teeth fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth, 42 in a dog and 30 in a cat.
  • Infection will accumulate in the mouth, resulting in gingivitis, tonsillitis and pharyngitis (sore throat).  Antibiotics may temporarily suppress the infection, if the tartar is not removed from the teeth, infection will return quickly.
  • Infection within the mouth will be picked up by the blood stream and carried to other parts of the body.  Kidney infections, as well as infection involving heart valves, frequently begin in the mouth.

What are some signs of dental disease?
The following are signs that your pet may have a problem in his mouth or gastrointestinal system and should be checked by a veterinarian:

  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Inflamed gums
  • Swelling in the gums
  • Cysts under the tongue
  • Loose teeth

DoogTeeth 5Your pet needs a dental cleaning -- what is involved with that?

Non-Anesthetic Dental:  Dental cleaning without anesthesia is an option for good-natured pets without serious dental disease such as periodontitis or damaged teeth.  Available for both dogs and cats, these dentals are a great way to keep your pet's teeth clean and healthy.  Our trained technician cleans under the gumline, probes the mouth for pockets and polishes all teeth surfaces.

Anesthetic Dental:  Pre-dental blood work is required. This is a check on the overall health of the pet to make sure that liver, kidneys, and blood counts are within normal ranges to reduce any risks possible prior to the anesthesia.  

With either procedure there are steps in the cleaning process:

  • Scaling:  removes tartar above and below the gum line.  
  • Flushing or Rinsing:  removes dislodged tartar from teeth and helps to remove the bacteria that accompany tartar.
  • Polishing:  smoothes the surface of the teeth making them resistant to additional plaque formation.
  • Fluoride:  coating decreases teeth sensitivity strengthens enamel and decreases the rate of future plaque formation (done with anesthetic dentals).  

How do I know if my pet needs an anesthetic dental?
A Registered Veterinary Technician evaluation will assess recent doctors exam, bloodwork with in 3 months, the possibility of extractions, whether pet is high caution/bite risk, or needs painful deep scaling and determine if anesthetic dental is necessary.

cat brushing teethWhat can you do at home to maintain your pet’s dental health?
Brush you pet’s teeth.  Get a toothbrush made especially for pets or a clean piece of soft gauze to wrap around your finger. Ask your vet for toothpaste made especially for animals or make a paste out of baking soda and water. 
Chew toys can satisfy your dog’s natural desire to chomp, while making his teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help massage his gums and help keep his teeth clean by scraping away soft tartar.

Does the kind of food I feed my pet help or hinder the health of their teeth? 
We have been told by pet food companies over the years that feeding dry kibble is a great way to prevent dental disease.  This is exactly the same as your dentist telling you to eat Grape Nuts Cereal every day and your teeth will be in great health without the need to brush.  Simply a myth.
There are many misconceptions about tartar buildup in dogs and cats. Diet is probably much less important than most people think. Because dry food is not as sticky as canned food, it does not adhere to the teeth as much and thus, does not cause tartar buildup as rapidly. However, eating dry food does not remove tartar from the teeth. Once tartar forms, a professional cleaning is necessary.  One of the main factors determining the amount of tartar buildup is the individual chemistry in the mouth.

Products we stock for in home dental maintenance?

  • Dentahex - Oral rinse
  • Dentahex Oral Chews (petite, small, medium, large)
  • Enzadent Dual-End Toothbrush
  • Enzadent Finger Brush Kit
  • Enzadent Toothpaste
  • Enzadent Oral Chews (feline)
  • Plaque Off – From a special seaweed found north of Sweden that has a biofilm on it that prevents bacteria from adhering to it.
  • Plaque Off Bites
  • Ziwipeak Deer Antlers

About the Author

Tim Wheaton: Office & Media Manager

Tim WheatonA part of the APCC team since September of 2013 as the Office Manager and Media Manager.  His career previously had been steeped in the Title Insurance Industry for over a decade. He has managed staffs in multiple industries, locally and overseas. His marketing and Social Media skills were learned as he manages his own photography business & podcast called "Daddy Unscripted" about being a dad.

There is no coincidence in the shared last name. Tim is Dr. Wheaton's younger brother and has been around APCC and the staff since its inception. Life has come full-circle in that way, as Tim and his brother used to spend nearly every day during summers in their youth at their Dad's veterinary practice in Corona Del Mar.  Dr. Wheaton was always the son destined to follow in their father's footsteps, while Tim was always the more creative-minded one of the two. 

Tim and his wife have two kids of their own and two furry children (Rusty & Audrey), sibling cats adopted from The Pet Rescue Center in 2011. 

Tim will be keeping you up to date with APCC happenings via social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram – with pictures, pet health tips, travel tips and ways to keep your babies happy and healthy.

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