Common Procedures to Address Dental Disease in Pets

Veterinarians recommend every pet routinely receive a thorough examination of the teeth and oral cavity. Based on the condition of your pet’s teeth, i.e., the tartar grade, our doctors may recommend what’s best for your pet.

Here’s a simplified guide to different terms related to professional veterinary dental care:

Dental Examination and Tartar Grading:

During the exam your veterinarian will examine your pet’s mouth for visual clues of any dental disease, the most obvious signs being a a buildup of plaque and tartar on the white enamel surfaces of the teeth. Your veterinarian will also check for tooth fractures, gum lesions, and oral tumors. At this time the doctor will assign your pet a tartar grade (see the chart above). If your pet receives a grade 2 or higher, your veterinarian may recommend a dental cleaning and polishing. Typically the oral examination does not require anesthesia.

Dental Cleaning:

Depending on your pet’s dental grading and the condition of their teeth and gums, your veterinarian may recommend a professional cleaning/polishing (also known as a dental prophy). This procedure will require general anesthesia to allow your veterinarian to perform it thoroughly and safely. Your pet’s heart, oxygen level, and blood pressure are monitored constantly during the procedure. Learn more about anesthesia in the FAQ.


Your pet will receive x-rays of its entire mouth as part of every dental cleaning and polishing. This allows your veterinarian to identify abscessed roots, the degree of bone loss, or any underlying pathology.


Based on X-ray findings and detailed inspection of the mouth during anesthesia, any bad teeth will be removed, either by simple extraction or surgical techniques. Often local nerve blocks are performed to prevent any discomfort or pain at the extraction site(s) once your per awakes from anesthesia. Commonly the gingival tissue at the site of extracted tooth will be closed with absorbant suture material. Read more about teeth extractions in the FAQ.

Receive 10% off your pet’s dental procedure.

When you schedule the procedure within 30 days of receiving a vet’s cleaning recommendation.

Schedule with our team to get started:

Your Pet May Need Veterinary Dental Attention If You Notice Any of the Following:

The following symptoms could indicate a serious problem with your pet’s teeth and gums.

Bad breath

Blood, pus, or other discharge from around the teeth


Obsessive pawing or clawing
around the face

Decreased appetite

Trouble eating dry food

Red or swollen gums

Swelling on the side of
the cheek

Behavioral changes

How is your pet's dental health?

Speak to our team if you would like to discuss your pet’s health with a veterinarian, and ask us about our dental discount!