Dental Info

Pets Need Dental Care Too

More than 85% of dogs and cats that are at least 4 years old have a condition in which bacteria attack the soft gum tissue. This condition is called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the final stage in a process that begins with the development of plaque on your pet's teeth. Bacteria, plaque, tartar, and calculus irritate the gums, which become tender, red, and swollen. This stage of dental disease is called gingivitis. Eventually inflamed gums separate from the teeth, creating pockets that can trap more bacteria. These pockets deepen and bacteria may attack the roots of the teeth and the bony tissue of the jaw, causing teeth to loosen, the gums to bleed, mouth odor, and pain when your pet eats. This is full-blown periodontal disease.

When Does Your Pet Have a Problem?

Some signs of dental trouble are apparent: bad breath, oral bleeding, continuous sneezing, excessive drooling or a change in eating habits such as dropping food, frequent trips to the food bowl without actually eating or tipping the head at different angles. Some dental problems can only be diagnosed while your pet is under anesthesia during a professional dental cleaning.

What if You Suspect a Problem?

Make an appointment with your veterinarian for your pet to have an oral examination and assessment. Dental prophylaxis is usually recommended. Most oral issues need to be resolved or fully assessed while your pet is under anesthesia.

What is Dental Prophylaxis?

A dental prophylaxis is an oral cleaning performed under anesthesia for the safety and comfort of your pet, and to allow the dental hygienist to complete a detailed and thorough teeth cleaning and examination. At Santa Ana Veterinary Hospital, this process includes:
*Inspection and assessment of tooth root surface, tooth mobility, sub-gingival calculus (tartar below the gum line) and periodontal pockets. This is followed by extensive water flushing of the mouth to remove plaque and food particles.

*A Piezo Ultrasonic Scaler with specialized KLAW tips is used to remove all tartar and calculus buildup on the teeth by ultrasonic action.

*A 0.2 percent chlorhexadine rinse is used to flush and clean the oral cavity.

*A fluoride paste, applied with a polishing cup, is used to polish the teeth to a high gloss, smoothing the tooth surface to help prevent plaque buildup. The fluoride has three functions: harden the enamel, desensitize the tooth root and prevent tooth decay. Residue polish is rinsed away with a fast spray of water.
*Your pet is now ready to wake up.
*Occasionally, a pet with severe dental disease may experience oral discomfort following cleaning. Typically, this discomfort resolves in a few days. Soft food is recommended in some cases, and oral antibiotics may be dispensed.

What Next?

Home care to prevent plaque buildup should include tooth brushing, wiping away plaque with a moist cloth and, in some cases, medicated mouth rinses are recommended to destroy oral bacteria. A water pick may be used on some pets to help keep teeth clean. Human toothpaste is not recommended because many contain detergents that will upset your pet’s stomach. Enzymatic toothpaste specifically for pets is available.
To schedule a dental cleaning, please call for an appointment (714) 639-6100

Vaccine Clinic:
Tuesday 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and Thursday 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Low Cost Spay and Neuter


Monday8:00AM - 6:00PM
Tuesday8:00AM - 6:00PM
Wednesday8:00AM - 6:00PM
Thursday8:00AM - 6:00PM
Friday8:00AM - 6:00PM
Saturday9:00AM - 2:00PM