Raleigh-Durham Veterinary Hospital

110 Robbins Road
Durham, NC 27703-3637



Dental Care
Dental CleaningMedical studies have shown that dental hygiene impacts the long term health of our pets and if dental disease is left untreated can cause serious health issues. In severe cases, untreated gum disease can lead to kidney and liver damage. A good program of home dental care will also reduce how often your pet's teeth need to be professionally cleaned. In most cases an annual exam and regular cleanings are the best prevention against dental disease. 
Our goal is to provide exceptional service with emphasis on client education to define simple preventative maintenance that can easily be done in the home. Dental care should start early in your pets life while the teeth and gums are still healthy. Starting a dental routine early will also get your pet used to having their teeth cleaned. 
At Raleigh-Durham Veterinary Hospital we recommend starting getting your pet used to having their teeth cleaned by placing a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and letting your pet lick it off. The next step is rub your finger inside your pets mouth providing it is safe to do so and your pet will not bite.  Next you can try using a finger brush and follow the same process.  Go a slow as you need to do so to make your pet comfortable with this procedure.  Once your pet lets you brush their teeth using the finger brush you can try using a pet toothbrush or keep using the finger brush if this works for both you and your pet.

Dental disease can be minimized by implementing the following routine:
  • Feed your pet a diet of dry food which can help keep teeth clean. If you prefer to use canned food, also feed your pet some dry biscuits or dental treats daily.
  • Brush the teeth and gums two to three times a week with toothpaste specifically designed for pets. If your pet develops dental disease then a more rigorous cleaning schedule will be required.
  • Avoid giving your dog treats or toys which are hard and can damage teeth. Broken teeth are common in older dogs, if this is just the enamel and the tooth is not painful, no treatment is required. However, if the crown is broken and this extends down to the nerve then this can be very painful. In this situation tooth extraction may be necessary to avoid further infection.
You can also look for signs of dental problems at home, warning signs include bad breath, yellow tarter on the teeth and red or swollen gums. If there is pain or the gums start to bleed when you touch your pet's mouth, then you need to get a dental exam as soon as possible.