Comprehensive Dental Care for Cats & Dogs in Marina Del Rey
Routinely scheduled dental care is a key component of cats' and dogs' oral and overall health, however, most pets actually don't get the oral hygiene care that they need in order to keep their teeth and their gums healthy throughout their life.
At our Marina del Rey 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 proud to be able to make a point of providing dental health education to owners to help them understand the best practices and easy steps they can take to care for their pet's oral health at home.
Dental Surgery in Marina del Rey
We know that learning that your pet requires oral surgery can be a bit of an overwhelming experience. Because of this, we strive to make the process as stress-free as possible both for you and for your four-legged friend.
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.
We offer a comprehensive range of oral surgeries to dogs and cats including jaw fracture surgeries, gum disease treatments and tooth extractions.
Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams
Just like your own annual checkup with your dentist, your cat or dog should visit a vet for a dental exam at least once each year. Pets that are more prone to oral health issues than others may need to see us more often than that, though.
Shane Veterinary Medical Center 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.
- Bad breath
- Tartar buildup
- Discolored teeth
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
A thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before the dental exam.
We recommend pre-anesthetic bloodwork for every patient undergoing anesthesia, regardless of age, in order to assess internal organ function and ensure that it's safe to proceed. This analysis includes a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry, and electrolytes. Additional diagnostics, such as an SDMA/Total T4, chest radiographs, urinalysis, or an ECG may also be recommended based on the blood results and/or patient history.
After your pet has been placed under anesthesia, we will complete a total oral examination (tooth by tooth) as well as charting.
Next, we will clean their teeth and polish them (both above and below the gum line). We will also take X-rays of their mouth and jaw. Our vets will 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.
If your pet has any tooth extractions or oral surgery performed, you will need to schedule a recheck with a technician two weeks after the procedure in order to ensure that your pet’s mouth is healing properly.
FAQs About Pet Dental Care
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our clients 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 people, when our animals eat, plaque builds up on and sticks to their teeth, turning into tartar if not brushed away routinely.
This may cause infection in your pet's mouth, tooth decay, periodontal disease or even loose and missing teeth. Because of this, routine oral healthcare is critical to preventing pain and disease in your four-legged friend.
- 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, they 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.
Some other indicators of oral health issues can include swollen gums, bad breath and tooth discoloration. Some pats may even suffer from enough pain that they stop eating altogether. Read more about the symptoms of oral health issues to the left under Pet Teeth Cleanings & Exams.
- 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 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.
The dental technician 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 instances, surgery will be necessary to treat more serious conditions. Your pet will be provided with anesthesia before the dental operation to make sure that they are comfortable and won't have to experience any pain. However, special care may be needed after their procedure is completed to help make sure your companion recovers.
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a dental appointment with us.
- Why does my pet need anesthesia for a dental procedure?
Unfortunately, cats and dogs don't understand what is happening during a dental procedure and may often react negatively, becoming anxious, stressed and possibly hurting themselves or others.
Similar to the anesthesia provided by human dentists to nervous or anxious patients, our vets provide anesthesia to all of our patients before dental procedures. This puts less stress on the animals and allows us to clean, x-ray, repair and polish their teeth safely and efficiently.
- Why don’t you perform non-anesthetic dentals?
"Anesthesia-free dentistry" in terms of veterinary medicine is a misnomer. There is no such thing. What you are paying for is a nonprofessional dental scaling. While some oral care may certainly be better than none at all, the two are not comparable in terms of health benefits.
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) calls pet dentistry without anesthesia "unacceptable and below the standard of care" and the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) has issued a position statement warning against its use as well. It advises pet owners that "Anesthesia-free dental cleanings provide no benefit to your pet and do not prevent periodontal disease at any level. In fact, it gives you a false sense of security as a pet owner that because the teeth look whiter that they are healthier." AAHA won't even accredit any veterinary hospital that allows anesthesia free cleanings to be performed at their facility.
You can check out the AVDC's website to read more about why this practice is not recommended as your pet’s only form of oral/dental care.
- What if my pet is too old to undergo anesthesia?
Age is not a disease and we do dentals on dogs and cats of all ages! In fact, our geriatric patients are the ones who are getting anesthetic dentals most frequently. If your pet has not had any bloodwork done in the last 6 - 12 months, we offer optional in-house pre-anesthetic bloodwork the same morning of the procedure to make sure internal organ function is optimal for anesthesia.
A complete physical exam is also performed by a veterinarian in order to ensure that your pet’s heart and lungs are functioning well. If your pet has severe cardiovascular disease, we would recommend a consult with a cardiologist prior to anesthesia. Even then, cardiologists are often comfortable with us performing anesthetic dentals with the anesthetic protocol we employ.
- What is included in the cost of a dental procedure?
The cost of your pet’s dental procedure is based on his or her weight and includes a full physical exam by a veterinarian, a pre-op pain injection, IV catheter and fluids, anesthesia, anesthetic monitoring with human hospital grade monitoring machines, dental x-rays, ultrasonic scaling, polishing, and a complimentary nail trim.
Additional costs that may be associated with a dental procedure include the recommended pre-anesthetic blood work, tooth extractions and restorations, oral surgery, and medications to go home. Please contact us by phone or email to request a dental estimate for your pet.
- Do you offer discounts on dentals?
Yes! We offer a 10% discount on the cost of dental cleanings throughout the months of February and September, in honor of National Pet Dental Health Month.
If you plan to take advantage of this promotion, please try to schedule your pet’s appointment well in advance in order to ensure availability, since those are our busiest dental months and spots tend to book up quickly.
- 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.