Dentistry at River Valley Veterinary Service

Your pets dental root-ine is very important!

Did you know that one of the most common health problems in dogs and cats is entirely preventable? We’re talking about periodontal disease. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have signs of periodontal disease by age three.

Many people are unaware of the potential consequences of this problem – not only can periodontal disease (and other dental diseases) cause pain, tooth and bone loss, but the resulting bacterial infections can enter the bloodstream, then spread throughout the body and cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver. This greatly affects your pets quality of life!

Here are some symptoms of dental problems to look for in dogs and cats:

  • Bad breath
  • Yellow teeth and/or yellowish crust along the gum line
  • Red or bleeding gums
  • Decreased appetite or difficulty eating, resulting in weight loss

Don’t wait until these symptoms occur! An annual cleaning by your veterinarian, along with regular home care, is the best way to prevent periodontal disease in your pet.


Dental Home Care      Book an Appointment


Professional Dental Cleaning


Oral Exam

Grade 1

This pet has Grade 1 periodontal disease. The pet has red and irritated gums secondary to plaque buildup. These changes indicate the presence of chronic oral infection. This level of dental disease is reversible with a Professional Dental Cleaning. This pet should be scheduled for a Professional Dental Cleaning in the next 6 months. Home care can help to slow down the spread of this infection. Strategies you might try include daily brushing, oral rinses, a Prescription Dental Diet and CET HEXtra chews that are coated with anti-bacterial agents. Just as people need regular visits to the dentist in addition to daily brushing, pets live longer and healthier lives when they get their teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis.
Grade 2

This pet has Grade 2 periodontal disease. There are red and swollen gums secondary to significant plaque buildup. The family members may have noticed that the pet’s breath smells bad. These changes indicate the presence of a chronic oral infection. As this infection becomes more severe, permanent damage to the teeth and surrounding tissue can occur. In order to put a stop to this potentially irreversible process, we recommend that this pet be scheduled for a Professional Dental Cleaning in the next 3 months. Just as people need regular visits to the dentist in addition to daily brushing, pets live longer and healthier lives when they get their teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis.
Grade 3

This pet has Grade 3 periodontal disease. Based on our examination of this pet’s mouth, we recommend a Professional Dental Cleaning be scheduled right away. The veterinarian has noticed at least one tooth in the pet’s mouth that is causing pain due to significant disease. We will need to take digital dental x-rays of the teeth in order to further diagnose and treat the dental disease.

The cat also has one or more teeth affected by resorptive lesions. Resorptive lesions occur when the enamel coating of the tooth is destroyed by the body, leaving the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth exposed to the environment. In an attempt to cover this painful lesion, the gum tissue undergoes excessive growth; this often looks like a cherry red covering over the base of the tooth. Researchers are unable to identify a cause for these lesions. At this point the only way to relieve the cat’s suffering is to remove the affected tooth.

Grade 4

This pet has Grade 4 periodontal disease. The mouth is severely infected and painful. Bacteria from the mouth are traveling in the bloodstream causing stress and inflammation throughout the body. This level of dental disease is negatively affecting both the quantity and the quality of your pet’s life. This pet needs to have the owner schedule a surgical appointment so that the dental disease can be addressed as quickly as possible.
Professional Dental Cleaning

Dog before and after professional cleaning:
Cat before and after professional cleaning:

All pets that will have a Professional Dental Cleaning will be anesthetized for the procedure. Pre-surgical blood work should be performed in the week prior to the appointment.

The River Valley Difference

Our veterinarians have sought out extensive post-graduate training in advanced dentistry by attending the Annual Dental Forum, symposia at the University of Minnesota and hands-on labs at the Animal Dental Training center in Baltimore, MD.   In many situations, our training enables us to save teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted.

We are able to perform root canals, vital pulpotomies and gingival surgery. A broken tooth is a medical emergency! If addressed quickly after the injury, a root canal can be performed to preserve the tooth, eliminate pain, and reduce the risk of abscess formation.

Our staff will be happy to help you put together a successful plan for your pets’ preventive home health care! Good dental care is one of the most important ingredients in your cat or dogs’ overall comfort, health and longevity. Please let us know if you have questions about your pet’s teeth or the dental cleaning procedure.


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