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Pet Dental Care

South Bay Animal

Hospital & Emergency

Pet Dental Care in San Jose, CA 95129

At South Bay Animal Hospital & Emergency in San Jose, CA 95129, we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive pet dental care. Your pet’s oral health is a crucial aspect of their overall well-being, and our experienced team is here to ensure they have a happy, healthy smile. From routine cleanings to advanced dental treatments, we prioritize preventive care to help your beloved companion maintain optimal oral hygiene. Trust us for expert dental services that make a real difference in your pet’s life.

Dental Cleaning

What is involved in a dental procedure?

Most of the time, we are hoping for prophylaxis – preventing inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and subsequent loosening of the teeth. However, there are many steps throughout this process to make it as safe as possible for your pet.

  • Physical exam: The veterinarian does a thorough exam on the pet to evaluate for any possible issues such as heart murmurs, lung crackles, masses, and to inspect the teeth visually.
  • Pre-anesthetic labwork: Pre-anesthetic laboratory work is done to ensure that the pet’s liver and kidneys are in good working order prior to anesthesia. The liver and kidneys are vital to clearing anesthetic out of the system, thus allowing the pet to wake up. Blood is drawn from the pet and either run at the laboratory or through our in-house machines. We can have results in about 30 minutes if the in-house option is chosen. If samples are sent to the lab, we usually get results the following day. Prior labwork can be used if it is within the past 30 days and the values were normal.
  • Preparation of an anesthetic plan: Depending on the age, size, lab results, physical exam findings, and any expected pain (such as extractions) the veterinarian will develop a comprehensive anesthetic plan which will be as safe as possible for the pet.
  • Intravenous catheter placement: The pet has a small area of fur shaved on the foreleg, and the skin is subsequently scrubbed in preparation for an intravenous (IV) catheter placement. The catheter allows fluid support throughout the anesthesia and helps to prevent low blood pressure. It also allows instant access to a vein if a crisis occurs requiring medication to be injected directly into the veins.
  • Anesthesia: Anesthesia is started with the injection of medications into the IV catheter and maintained by the placement of an endotracheal (ET) tube into the pet’s windpipe. This prevents the pet from breathing in water or debris, which will be removed from the teeth, and allows inhalation of anesthetic gases and oxygen. The pet is put on a warm-air blanket to prevent chilling. Many monitors are also placed to ensure that blood pressure, oxygenation, breathing, and heartbeat work normally. One technician is dedicated to keeping track of all of this information to keep the pet safe.
  • Dental X-rays 
    We have digital radiographs (x-rays), which allow us to evaluate the attachment of the tooth roots to the bone. Even though a tooth may look healthy on the surface, radiographs can show damaged roots and infections, which can be a source of pain for the pet. All teeth are radiographed, and the veterinarian evaluates those images.
  • Scaling and polishing: Another technician uses an ultrasonic scaler to remove the tartar that is attached to the tooth enamel. The scaling procedure can leave micro-scratches in the enamel, leading to future tartar buildup, so the teeth are polished with prophylaxis paste to buff them smooth and thus make them more resistant to tartar buildup.
  • Probing gingival pockets: The technician then probes around every tooth, recording the depth of the “pocket” between the gum and the tooth, as well as the looseness of teeth or any defects or fractures in the enamel of the tooth. These findings may indicate whether a tooth is still healthy or needs to be extracted.
  • Extractions: (if indicated) If a tooth is loose, fractured so that the pulp is exposed, or has enough bone loss that the space between multiple roots of a tooth can be probed, it needs to be extracted. Pre-emptive pain control is employed to minimize discomfort to the pet in the form of anti-inflammatories and nerve blocks using local anesthetics. The veterinarian then combines the drill and other instruments to section the tooth into single-rooted pieces, if needed, and remove all the roots. Extraction sites are re-radiographed to make sure no remaining pieces are left behind.
  • Post-anesthesia: The pet is then taken off the anesthesia, the monitoring devices are removed, and when the pet can swallow voluntarily, the endotracheal tube is removed, and the pet is placed in a warmed kennel to recover quietly.
  • Going home If indicated, medications may be sent home to help control pain, inflammation or infection. The veterinarian may discuss dental diets or other forms of home care to prevent further tartar buildup.

Benefits for Your Pet

  • Prevents Dental Disease: Routine dental care helps prevent common dental issues like periodontal disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay. These conditions can cause pain and discomfort for your pet.
  • Freshens Breath: Dental care can significantly improve your pet’s breath, making close interactions more pleasant.
  • Pain Relief: Dental problems can be painful for pets. Dental care can alleviate pain and discomfort associated with oral issues.
  • Prevents Tooth Loss: Early intervention and preventive care can help prevent tooth loss in pets.
  • Improves Overall Health: Good oral health is linked to better overall health. Dental care can reduce the risk of systemic issues, such as heart and kidney disease, resulting from untreated dental problems.
  • Extends Lifespan: Regular dental care can help extend your pet’s lifespan by reducing the risk of serious health issues related to poor oral hygiene.
  • Enhances Quality of Life: Pets with healthy mouths are generally happier and more comfortable, leading to an improved quality of life.
  • Cost-Effective: Preventive dental care is often more cost-effective than treating advanced dental problems or related health issues.
  • Reduces Dental Pain: Dental problems can cause persistent pain. Addressing these issues through dental care can relieve your pet’s discomfort.
  • Better Digestion: Healthy teeth and gums allow your pet to chew food properly, aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption.