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April 2010
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Although our pets need a healthy mouth and sound teeth, we sometimes let our pet's oral and dental care slip. Poor oral hygiene can be the source of bad breath, gum disease and organ damage. Not only can this cause animals constant pain, it can actually shorten their lives. Taking care of your pet's teeth means more than pleasant breath; it is a basic part of our wellness program.

Did you know that by age three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease according to the American Veterinary Dental Society?                                                                                                                                 
Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris, can cause plaque to form which accumulates on the teeth, and between the teeth and the gums. As the bacteria grow and multiply in the plaque, and as calcium salts are deposited on the teeth, plaque turns into tartar. Tartar is hard, and has a roughened surface, which enhances bacterial attachment and further plaque development. Tartar also irritates surrounding gingival tissues. This process can lead to the development of significant periodontal disease in dogs and cats.


Periodontal disease is the #1 health problem diagnosed in pets over three years of age. If left untreated, that can mean pain, bad breath and tooth loss for your pet. Chronic infection in the oral cavity can spread harmful bacteria to the bloodstream and cause heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, and a weakened immune system. Good oral health and proper dental care can extend a pet's life expectancy and reduce the risk of serious, sometimes life-threatening secondary health conditions.


  • Excessive Salivation
  • Red, inflamed gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Yellow-brown tartar deposits
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Difficulty or pain while eating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth Odor


Occasionally it will be necessary to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) buildup professionally with a dental cleaning under anesthesia. Anesthesia is always a concern for pet owners, but we will tailor our anesthesia protocol to your individual pet based on age and general health status. As a safeguard, we will check pre-anesthetic bloodwork, provide intravenous fluids during the procedure, and use state of the art monitoring equipment including pulse oximetry and blood pressure monitoring while your pet is under anesthesia. Most of our patients are able to go home the same day of the dental cleaning.

A dental cleaning begins with a thorough oral examination looking for any obvious broken or chipped teeth, dental abscesses, oral masses, etc. Digital dental radiographs (x-rays) of all of the teeth are taken to evaluate the underlying bone and reveal any areas of concern. Hand scaling is done to remove large calculus deposits and periodontal probing will aid in the diagnosis of deep pockets around individual teeth. The teeth are then cleaned using an ultrasonic scaler both above and below the gum line. Any diseased or broken teeth are removed, and stitches are placed to close the open gum tissue. Finally the teeth are polished with a special veterinary toothpaste and a fluoride rinse is applied.



Plaque begins to accumulate rapidly following a professional scaling and polishing. Bad breath and other periodontal problems will return if home care is not instituted. We have available the following products to help you care for your pet's dental health at home.

  • CET Oral Hygiene Kit including a dual ended toothbrush, a finger brush and toothpaste for both dogs and cats
  • CET Oral Hygiene Rinse or Gel
  • CET Dental Chews
  • Hill's t/d food - this food works great as treats for your dog or cat!
  • Oravet Plaque Prevention Gel

For your dogs and cats, good oral care means better health and longer lives. Find out more about pet dental health by looking at these websites:




Please call us today at 516-379-6200 to schedule an oral examination and follow up dental cleaning for your pet.


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