Dental disease is one of the most common medical problems in cats and dogs. By the age of three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have evidence of dental disease. Lift up your pet’s lips and most likely you will find tartar, red gums, and possibly broken teeth. These are only the outward manifestations of dental disease. Underneath the surface, bacteria erodes at the bone that hold the teeth in place and inflamed gums allow toxins to enter the bloodstream, where they effect the heart, liver and kidneys.

Cleaning your pet’s teeth is similar to going to the dentist. Since we need to work deep within the mouth, anesthesia is required to properly clean the teeth. A veterinarian can assess your pet’s anesthetic risk and determine the best anesthesia for your pet.

These are the steps in the dental cleaning:

  1. Scaling removes the tartar above and below the gumline. Both hand instruments and an ultrasonic cleaner are used.
  2. Polishing fills small defects in the teeth and makes them resistant to additional plaque formation.
  3. Flushing with an antimicrobial rinse removes bacteria from the mouth.
  4. Examination of the oral cavity is then performed. The veterinarian looks for problem teeth and determines what type of treatment is best.
  5. If needed, a sealant such as Oravet is applied to prevent tartar build-up over time.

If you have questions about these procedures, or wish to schedule a dental cleaning, contact us at 770-516-1111 or

Twice a year, in February and October, we participate in Pet Dental Month. During these months we offer special incentives for dental care and place a special emphasis on educating about dental disease.

The best way to treat dental disease is prevention. Routine use of the products listed will help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

  1. OraVet Dental Sealant: This product is applied to the teeth and gums following a dental cleaning and forms a barrier to plaque and tartar formation. It is touched-up with weekly applications, taking about 60 seconds per week for high quality dental care.
  2. Toothpaste and Toothbrush: Brushing your pet’s teeth is one of the best ways to prevent tartar and gum disease. To be effective, it should be done daily. Pets must use special toothpaste that does not contain fluoride.
  3. Oral Rinses: Dental rinses are applied directly on the teeth and gums and provide tartar and plaque control without brushing. Like brushing, it is done daily.
  4. Enzymatic Chews: For dogs, rawhide chews specially treated with enzymes to help remove plaque and prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria. (Please note: Some dogs require supervision when chewing rawhides.) Cats can also benefit from specially formulated treats that provide plaque-fighting enzymes.
  5. Dental Diets: Many foods are being coated with substances that help to prevent tartar formation. This is the easiest method of at-home dental care, but it only works on dogs and cats that take the time to chew their food.

Want more information on the importance of dental care? Visit