Cat receiving a dental exam.

Dental Care

Cat under anesthesia for dental exam.

Did you know that dogs and cats develop tartar and periodontal disease just like we do? Did you know that it is thought that you can add 2-4 years to your pet’s life with routine dental care?  

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, dental disease is the number 1 health issue seen in 70% of cats and 80% of dogs, over the age of three. Just like in humans, animals develop tartar and disease at different rates and because of this; some animals may need dental cleaning (dental prophylaxis) and/or extractions annually, while others may only require cleaning once or twice in their lifetimes. Brushing your pet’s teeth with pet specific formulated toothpastes, using preventatives such as water additives, feeding your pet a special diet or using specially designed toys and chews are all ways to help reduce the risk of periodontal disease.   

How do I know if my pet needs professional dental cleaning?  

Despite best efforts, some pets will develop dental issues. Our veterinarians perform an oral examination on your pet as part of an annual physical. They assess your pet’s oral health based on the level of tarter, inflammation or disease and make recommendations on the oral care that your pet needs.  

Tartar buildup on dog teeth.


Clean dog teeth after dental cleaning.


Why does my pet have to go under anesthesia during a pet dental cleaning?  

For several reasons, dental prophylaxis procedures are done under general anesthesia. In addition to the benefit of being able to physically perform the procedures, this method of anesthesia protects your pet from inhaling aerosolized bacteria, which could cause pneumonia. While many owners have concerns of general anesthesia, the risk can be lower than that of progressive oral disease.  

To further help reduce risk, our doctors;  

  • Recommend pre-anesthetic blood screening to check organ health functions  
  • Formulate a specific anesthetic protocol based on each patient’s need  
  • Utilize trained technicians to carefully monitor anesthesia and cardio-respiratory rates before, during and after the procedure  
  • Use warming devices to protect patient core temperature  
Pet dentist cleaning completing a dental cleaning on a dog.

What happens during my pet’s dental care procedure?  

  • Pre-anesthetic examination by the veterinarian 
  • Pre-anesthetic blood work to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia  
  • An injectable sedative is administered, and a catheter is placed while your pet is prepped for general anesthesia 
  • Surgical monitoring equipment is attached to ensure your pet’s safety throughout the procedure  
  • A thorough examination of your pet’s mouth, gums and teeth begins 
  • Dental radiographs (x-rays) may be taken to help detect tooth root damage, bone loss or enamel defects 
  • Extraction of any broken or diseased teeth, if needed
  • Repeat radiographs, if warranted 
  • A thorough cleaning of all tooth surfaces to remove any buildup of tarter or plaque 
  • Using an ultrasonic hand scaler, your pet’s teeth are then polished to rub away any microscopic abrasions. 
  • Once completed, your pet is moved to recovery and monitored by one of our team members.  
  • Post dental pain medications are administered 
  • When fully recovered and awake, your pet is offered a meal to break their fast. 

Does my pet have to stay overnight? 

In most instances, your furry family member will spend the day with us for recovery and observation following the procedure and go home with you at the end of the day. You will be scheduled a time to meet with someone from our pet’s care team to discuss the findings, review the at-home-care instructions and recommendations for things you can do at home for your pet to promote oral health and increase time between cleanings. If your pet has had extractions, a follow-up visit to check the extraction site(s) is typically scheduled for 14-21 days following the procedure.  

Pet Dental Cleanings in Brunswick, ME

 If you are concerned about your pet’s dental health, please call us at 207-729-4164 to discuss an appointment with one of our veterinarians.