Pet Dental Care

Veterinary Dentistry in Huntsville, AL

We spend a lot of time thinking about our pets’ general health. Their oral health is an exceptionally important, though often overlooked, aspect of that. Like us, animals need healthy teeth and gums to thrive and continue to have a positive quality of life. That’s why the care and promotion of good oral health is a significant focus for the team at South Huntsville Veterinary Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama.

What is Veterinary Dentistry?

There is a common misconception that our pets can care for their teeth by chewing and self-cleaning. However, this could not be further from the truth. Animals need help to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Because they are generally less picky about what goes in their mouths, they typically require more assistance than we do.

Veterinary dentistry is a collection of techniques, tools, and procedures to maintain, protect, and restore your pet’s dental health. These services are vital because your pet can suffer from the same oral health concerns as you. That means cavities, gingivitis, tooth decay, and gum disease. Giving your pet the same quality of dental care that you would receive is essential.

You can help care for your pet’s oral health at home by providing them with veterinary dentistry services. With the proper technique, you can brush an animal’s teeth regularly to dislodge food particles and fight bacteria. It would help if you did so daily or at least three or four times weekly for optimal results. Additionally, be sure to use toothpaste that is specially formulated for pets. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that could be harmful to animals if swallowed.

Lastly, while chewing may not wholly resolve any oral health issue, a veterinary oral healthy council certified chew toy could help your dog scrape food particles and plaque from their teeth while smoothing the enamel. However, please be aware that a chew toy will not replace a proper brush.

What Is A Veterinary Dental Cleaning?

Though you can brush and clean your pet’s teeth at home, veterinarians recommend you regularly bring them in for a professional dental cleaning. This is a procedure where a veterinarian uses special tools to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your pet’s teeth and performs dental radiographs (xrays). Just like our mouths, an animal’s mouth contains multiple crevices and corners that you cannot reach with a brush on your own. As a result, bacteria thrive in these areas, growing until it negatively affects your pet’s oral health.

Without proper cleaning, your pet will be subjected to periodontal disease as plaque and tartar reach under the gum line to affect gingival tissues. These bacterial colonies will cause inflammation in the gums, eventually leading to decay and tooth loss. In addition, the bacteria can spread to the bloodstream, affecting other tissues in your pet’s body and causing other problems such as adverse heart, liver, and kidney changes. This is why it is essential to clean the plaque off the dog’s teeth.

How To Know If Your Pet Needs A Veterinary Dental Appointment

We know when we require a trip to the dentist because we experience pain, discomfort, and other changes to our oral health. In addition, we are willing to seek help for these issues. Our pets go through the same symptoms we do, but the difference is that animals instinctively hide their pain and discomfort from others. This behavior makes it challenging to tell at first glance when they are suffering from a health issue and need to see a veterinary professional for a pet dental exam.


Fortunately, there are signs that your pet should visit a veterinarian for a dental appointment. Be on the lookout for:

  • Decreased appetite or obvious discomfort with eating
  • Swollen or inflamed gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Discoloration of the teeth, gums, or other tissues in the mouth
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Abnormally excessive drooling

If your pet displays any of these signs, consult your veterinarian immediately.

How Often To Schedule A Veterinarian Dental Appointment

Consistency is the key to maintaining proper oral health in humans and pets. We must visit a dentist regularly to help detect and resolve oral health issues early. Professional dentists have the experience and knowledge to see changes in teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth and take the necessary steps to fix the issues.

Dentists advise that we come in for an appointment once every six months. Our pets generally don’t eat as often as we do, and they don’t ingest as much sugar and fat when they eat. So, vets recommend that our animal friends visit for a dental exam once a year for the best possible results. Of course, if your pet experiences an oral health problem, you should bring them in for a visit as soon as possible.

Caring For Your Pet’s Oral Health Is Important

Your pet’s quality of life matters greatly, and oral health plays a more significant role than many understand. Dr. Wesley Clendinen and the professionals at South Huntsville Veterinary Hospital have dedicated themselves to providing excellent care for the pets of the Huntsville, AL area. We take every possible step to ensure that pets and their owners feel comfortable in our offices. We also make efforts to communicate with our clients, educate them about preventive veterinary measures they can take, and allow them to make informed choices about the health of their pets.

If you would like to receive more information or schedule an appointment, please contact us.