Professional Dental Care in Farmington Hills

Healthy Mouth = Healthier Life



  • Your pet’s dental health is just as important to his or her overall health as your dental health is to your general health
  • Pets may not exibit any signs of pain while having serious painful dental diseases.
  • Pet Dental care is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care.
  • Approximately two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the dental care that is recommended as essential by veterinarians.
  • 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age three -American Veterinary Dental Society –
  • Dental disease doesn’t affect just the mouth alone but causes serious problems- heart, lung and kidney disease

Bad breath of Dogs & Cats is not something to be ignored – it could be indicative of an oral problem, and the sooner you have it treated by your veterinarian (and learn to care for it yourself), the sooner you and your pet can smile proudly.

There are two critical components of your pet’s veterinary dental care:Veterinary dental care begins at the puppy and kitten life stage. Veterinarians evaluate puppies and kittens for problems related to the deciduous (baby) teeth, missing or extra teeth, swellings and oral development. As your pet ages, your veterinarian will look for developmental anomalies, the accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease and oral tumors. Veterinarians can perform a basic oral examination on patients that are awake. However, a short-lasting anesthetic is required in order to provide a complete and thorough examination as well as dental cleanings.

Professional Dental Care Guidelines:

  • oral examinations and
  • annual dental cleanings under general anesthesia for cats and small-breed dogs over 1 year of age, and at two years of age for large-breed dogs.
  • Though there is some risk associated with any medical procedure, modern anesthesia is usually safe, even for older pets.
    Pre-anesthetic exam:
    Is done to help ensure the safety of your pet. Your veterinarian will

  • Thoroughly examine your pet to make sure she’s healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.
  • Depending on your pet’s age & general physical condition, your veterinarian may recommend- blood, urine, electrocardiograph, and x-ray tests to check for any underlyiong dangerous heart, kidney, or other conditions.

Anesthesia monitoring:
The monitoring and recording of your pet’s vital signs

  • body temperature,
  • heart rate
  • Pulse rate
  • respiration

Dental radiographs:


  • To completely evaluate your pet’s oral health.
  • To Detect abnormalities that cannot be detected by exam alone.
  • To confirm the need for extraction of loose , badly infected teeth.

Scaling & Polishing:
Veterinarians are advised to use similar instruments as human dentists to remove plaque and calculus from your pet’s teeth. To smooth out any scratches in the tooth enamel, polishing with a special paste is also recommended.

Fluoride/sealants: The application of an anti-plaque substance, such as a fluoride treatment and/or a barrier sealant is also advised. This can help strengthen and desensitize teeth as well as decrease future plaque.

Home Dental Care:
Your pet’s dental care doesn’t rest with your veterinarian alone. As a pet owner, you play a pivotal role in helping ensure your pet’s dental health through regular teeth brushing.. Remember… pets can live longer, healthier lives if oral health care is managed and maintained throughout their lives. Talk to your veterinarian about developing a dental care plan for your furry friend.

Professional Teeth-Cleaning is 12 steps procedure:

No other procedure performed on small animals does more to help patients than periodic teeth cleaning and after care. The dental visit for cleaning must be performed in a methodical manner. All twelve steps are important and interlinked. When one step is not performed, long term patient benefit suffers.

1. Oral examination on the un-anesthetized animal. Begin with the face. Check for swellings and painful areas. Look at the eyes, are they the same size? Is there swelling under one eye? Open and close the mouth to check for pain or crepitus in the temporo-mandibular (TMJ) joints. Examine the teeth andgums for pathology. Examine each tooth rather than the mouth globally. If there is even a small amount of tartar touching the gingiva this is disease and needs immediate removal.

2. Oral examination under general anesthesia. We examine individual teeth for mobility, fractures, malocclusion, and periodontal disease (probe for pocket depths after calculus is removed).

3. Supra-gingival (above the gum line) plaque and tartar removal using calculus removing forceps, hand instruments, and power scaling equipment.

Supra-gingival deposits are removed from buccal, lingual, and between surfaces of the teeth.

When used properly, the ultrasonic scaler removes plaque and tartar from the teeth. Heat generated by an ultrasonic scaler can cause severe damage to the tooth and periodontal support. Ultrasonic units must be used on crowns and exposed root surfaces only.

The ability to remove tartar and potential damage by an ultrasonic scaler depends on power settings, time of exposure, amount of pressure applied, sharpness of the tip and experience of the professional.

Regardless of the type of power scaler, use a feather light touch, keeping the water-cooled tip moving in constant sweeping motion to avoid thermal injury. Use the side of the tip not the point to remove tartar.

4. Sub-gingival (below the gum line) scaling, curettage. Curettes are used to remove sub-gingival deposits.

Root scaling: removal of plaque and calculus from the root surface. The goal is to disorganize and lavage bacteria living sub-gingivally. This creates a healthier environment for healing and reattachment. Curettes or slim ultrasonic tips are used.
Sub-gingival Curettage is removal of the gingival pocket’s diseased soft tissue inner surface. The rationale for the procedure is to convert chronically inflamed ulcerated lesions in the soft tissue wall of a periodontal pocket, into a clean surgical wound. This promotes healing and re-adaptation of tissue to the tooth surface.

5. Polishing. Regardless of how careful we are during the scaling/curettage phase of teeth cleaning, minor defects of the tooth surface occur. Polishing smoothes out the defects and removes plaque missed during previous steps. Polishing paste is used on a polishing cup for the procedure.When polishing, use firm pressure until the cup edge flares. Overheating is prevented by relieving pressure slightly as the cup moves over each tooth.

6. Irrigation. With irrigation, diseased tissue and plaque are removed from the pocket or sulcus. Water spray and/or a 0.1-0.2% Chlorhexidine gluconate solution are commonly used.

7. Fluoride is placed on dry teeth and allowed to remain undisturbed for at least four minutes.

8. Post cleaning examination and diagnostics. After cleaning, teeth are examined individually via periodontal probing, compressed air application to the gingiva to examine for retained calculus, Shepherd’s hook exploration, and radiology (if indicated).

9. Charting. Record disease present before therapy. Charting must include missing, loose, fractured, and discolored teeth, as well as feline oral resorptive lesions, periodontal pocket depths, gingival recession, and other significant lesions.

10. Therapy to treat lesions noted above. After treatment records must include: Dental care performed, follow up recommendation, antibiotics dispensed, home care instructions.

11. Home care instructions. The pet owner is an integral part of our pet health dental care team. The dental visit is not complete until discussion is held on maintaining and improving oral health. Home care is the single most important procedure the owner can do to maintain oral health. If performed regularly, daily brushing will dramatically increase the interval between teeth cleaning appointments.

12. Follow-up progress visits are as essential as any of the preceding steps. The time between oral exams is based on the degree of disease and the client’s ability to provide home care. Some severe periodontal cases are rechecked monthly, while pets that have been treated for grade one gingivitis, and their teeth brushed once or twice daily, can be rechecked every six months. The reminder interval for recheck can be linked to degree of periodontal disease in the computer.

Pet Dental Home Care Recommendations:

It is very important to your pet’s health to receive regular dental home care just as you take care of your own teeth. Animals have no special ability to resist dental disease. That is why we recommend an annual dental check up and professional dental cleaning. once the teeth have been cleaned and are treated for any perodontal disease, this is an excellent time to start home prophylaxis or prevention of the return of plaque. There are several modalities to help reduce plaque accumulation, but brushing is still the gold standard.

Introduce the toothpaste and tooth brush. When you sense the pet is anxious to the brushing procedure, give reassurance by talking and try again. Expect progress not perfection. Reward progress immediately with a treat, or a play period after each cleaning session. Take time. Each pet is different. Some will be trained in one week while others will take a month or more. The payoff is well worth the learning curve.

The size of toothbrush chosen is important. There are specially made brushes to fit into the large mouths of long muzzled dogs as well as small brushes for cats. Each dog or cat must have his or her own brush. Sharing brushes may result in cross contamination of bacteria from one pet to another.

Some recommendations for the initiation of a brushing program are given below:

Step 1: Examine and Touch the Mouth, Teeth, and Gums

The first step is to make it fun and relaxing for your pet. Use lots of praise and start slowly. Begin by offering a small amount of flavored pet toothpaste on your index finger as “a treat” daily for 5-7 days. This conditionsyour pet to expect a treat when they see the tube of toothpaste.

Step 2: Brushing or wiping the Teeth with Pet Toothpaste
After this initial introductory period, as you give the paste, use your index finger to rub the teeth and gums in small circles, the same motion as a toothbrush. Continue this for 5-7 days. Once your pet becomes comfortable with this, then progress to a soft bristle brush and continue the same routine. You may want to offer a small amount of the paste before and after brushing as a reward. Some pets will require daily brushing, while others can be maintained by brushing a few times a week.
*** Human toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed and should NOT be used on your pet.

Step 3: Mouth Rinses
Pets with advanced periodontal disease or pets that will not allow brushing may also benefit from an antiseptic oral rinse. These rinses are not as well liked as the flavored toothpastes and will not remove plaque as well as brushing, but they will help reduce plaque bacteria.

Step 4: Treats
There are products that have been proven in clinical trails to reduce plaque and tartar accumulation. Look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (V.O.H.C.) Seal of Approval on products to ensure that are beneficial for your pet’s dental health.
*** Avoid hard treats such as real bones, hard plastic bones, and cow hooves as they can lead to broken teeth.

Step 5: Diets

Specially formulated diets are available that help reduce plaque and tartar build-up. Iams and Eukanuba diets have added chemicals that retard the mineralization of plaque to tartar, thus making the teeth easier to keep clean. Other diets such as Hill’s Prescription t/d diet works mechanically to “brush” the teeth when chewing. The t/d diet can be fed as the sole diet, or as treats. If you find you cannot perform dental home care on your pet, and you want to keep your pet healthy and avoid bad breath and dental disease, you MUST seek professional treatment more frequently! For most pets a professional cleaning once a year is adequate. Pets with pre-existing dental disease and those lacking dental home care will need professional care more often.


The teeth that are present around 6 weeks of age are not the permanent teeth the puppy will have as an adult. Like humans, dogs have two sets of teeth that develop during their lifetime. The first set of teeth, sometimes called “baby” teeth are also called deciduous teeth because these teeth are present early in life, and then are shed as the developing permanent teeth erupt into position. Deciduous teeth are typically lost or shed as the roots of these teeth are resorbed and the crown becomes loose. If the deciduous tooth is not shed in a timely manner, we refer to them as “retained”. Retained deciduous teeth should be removed, provided there is a permanent tooth to replace it.

As a general rule of thumb, there should only be one tooth occupying a specific place. More simply put, if there is a permanent tooth that has erupted through the gingiva and a deciduous tooth remains, the deciduous tooth should be removed to prevent possible deflection of the permanent tooth’s eruption path, or to prevent crowding of the two involved teeth, which could lead to periodontal problems that could affect the permanent tooth.

Dental Health Diet
The wrong kinds of food can cause dental distress in pets. Feeding you cat or dog a dry food rather than a moist, canned one will, through its abrasive action on the teeth, help remove the bacterial plaque that can harden into tartar. Dry food also provides adequate chewing exercise and gum stimulation. Avoid giving your pet sweets and table scraps as they may also increase plaque and tartar formation. Your vet may recommend the use of special dry foods designed to reduce plaque and tartar buildup, especially if your pet is prone to dental problems due to his breed or individual genetic history.
Yearly Dental Checkup
Doing your best to ensure that your dog or cat receives the proper diet and regular brushing at home will help maintain his or her teeth and gums in top condition. To provide optimum dental care at home, you need to start with a clean bill of dental health. That’s where your pet’s veterinarian comes in.
He or she will give your pet a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity to determine whether there are any underlying problems and, especially important, tartar buildup. Brushing removes plaque but not tartar, so if your pet’s teeth do have tartar, your veterinarian will have to remove it with a professional cleaning and polishing, usually accomplished under anesthesia. After removing the tartar above and below the gum line, your veterinarian may treat your pet’s teeth with fluoride and will provide you with instructions for home care and follow up.
Fun Dental Facts

  • Kittens have their first 26 “milk” or deciduous teeth at 2 to 3 weeks of age. Their 30 permanent teeth begin erupting around 3 months.
  • Cats have the fewest teeth of any common domestic animal.
  • Puppies develop their deciduous teeth at 2 weeks of age, with their 42 permanent teeth starting to appear at 3 months.

A Few Dental Tips For Home

  • Chew treats, including hard meat-protein biscuits and some rawhide chews for dogs, can help remove plaque, and provide stimulation for the gums
  • Watch out for wood-throwing sticks to dogs or letting your cat pick up a piece of wood with his mouth can result in splinters and gum damage.
  • Don’t let your pet chew on hard materials like bones or stones. They can wear down, and even break teeth, damage gums and lead to infection.

Dogs and cats need to have their teeth brushed in order or eliminate the dental plaque that can cause tooth decay and the formation of tartar, which can lead to gum disease. You should begin a regular, daily brushing routine as soon as you bring home your new kitten or puppy at approximately 6 to 8 weeks of age. Even older dogs or cats can be trained to accept having their teeth brushed. You simply need to introduce the activity gradually and make the experience a positive one for your pet. Reassure and praise him profusely throughout the process and reward him with a very special treat when it’s finished. Here’s how it can be done: