Veterinary Dentistry & Dental Surgery
The vets at Northgate Veterinary Clinic provide preventive and restorative veterinary dental health care and surgery for cats and dogs in Seattle.
Comprehensive Dental Care for Cats & Dogs
Routine dental care is a critical component of cats' and dogs' oral and overall health, but most of pets don't get the oral hygiene care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
At our Seattle veterinary hospital, we provide complete dental care for your pet, from basics such as dental exams, teeth cleanings and polishing, to dental x-rays and surgeries.
We are also passionate about dental health education about home dental care for pet owners.
Dental Surgery in Seattle
We understand that finding out that your pet needs dental surgery can be overwhelming. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible, for you and for your pet.
We'll do everything we can to ensure your pet's experience with us is comfortable and easy. We'll break down each step of the process to you in detail before the procedure, including preparation and post-operative care requirements.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Your pet should come in for a dental examination at least annually. Dogs and cats who are more prone to dental problems than others may need to see us more often.
Northgate Veterinary Clinic can assess, diagnose and treat dental health problems in cats and dogs.
If you notice any of the following symptoms in your pet, it's time for a dental checkup.
- Tartar buildup
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Discoloured teeth
A thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before the dental exam.
We will take blood and urine analyses to ensure it's safe for your pet to undergo anesthesia. Additional diagnostics, such as chest radiographs or an ECG may also be conducted.
Once your pet is under anesthesia, we will conduct a complete oral examination (tooth by tooth), charting, and full mouth digital dental x-rays.
Next, the teeth are cleaned and polished (including under the gum line) and x-rays are taken. We then apply a fluoride treatment to each tooth.
The final step is to apply a dental sealant to prevent plaque from attaching to the enamel. If advanced periodontal disease is found, the veterinarian will develop a treatment plan and discuss it with you.
A complimentary follow-up examination will be scheduled two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment for our oral surgery patients.
During routine office visits, we will discuss implementing teeth brushing at home. We can also recommend products that can help improve your pet's oral health.
FAQs About Pet Dental Care
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our patients about pet dental care.
- Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
Our pets can develop periodontal disease or tooth decay as a consequence of poor oral health.
Just like in humans, when animals eat, plaque sticks to their teeth and can build up into tartar if not brushed away regularly.
This can lead to infections in the mouth, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even loose or missing teeth. That's why regular dental care is essential to preventing pain or disease in the gums.
- How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Did you know behavior may be an indication of oral health problems? If your pet is experiencing dental problems, or they may drool excessively (and the drool may contain pus or blood), or you may notice them pawing at their mouth or teeth. They may also yawn excessively, grind their teeth, or stop grooming sufficiently.
Other signs of oral health problems include bad breath, swollen gums, and tooth discoloration. Some pets may even suffer from pain that keeps them from eating. Read more about symptoms to the left under Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams.
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a dental appointment with us.
- What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?
Besides causing problems ranging from cavities and bad breath to severe periodontal disease, oral health issues and conditions can lead to disease in the liver, kidney, heart and other areas throughout your pet's body.
Cysts or tumors may develop. Your pet may also not feel well in in general (if you've ever had a toothache, you know how it can affect your mood!). In addition, diseases related to oral health conditions can shorten the lifespan of your pet and cause significant pain.
This is why regular dental care is so essential to animals' physical health and wellbeing.
- What happens during a pet teeth cleaning appointment?
During your pet’s regular oral exam, the vet will examine his or her mouth and look for oral health conditions or any symptoms needing treatment.
During a teeth-cleaning appointment, we will clean tartar and other debris from your cat's or dog's teeth. If cavities, gingivitis or other conditions need to be addressed, the vet will explain these to you and provide advice on which actions you should take.
In some cases, surgery will be needed to treat serious conditions. Your pet will be provided anesthesia before their dental procedure to ensure they are comfortable and do not experience any pain. However, special care will be needed post-surgery.
- What should I do at home to keep my pet’s teeth clean between dental appointments?
At home, you should brush your pet's teeth on a regular basis and give them dental chew toys. These will help eliminate plaque.
Do not allow them to chew on things that will damage their teeth, such as bones, toys or objects that are too hard. Always contact your vet with any questions or concerns regarding your pet's oral health.
Veterinary Dentistry: Anesthesia & Your Pet's Oral Health
Cats and dogs do not understand what is going on during dental procedures, and will often react to dental procedures by struggling or biting. We provide anesthesia to all of our patients before performing dental procedures. This puts less stress on the animals and allows us to x-ray their mouth as needed.