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Dental Care

Your Pet's Dental Health


Just like in humans, infection and inflammation of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth are caused by bacteria present in plaque and tartar. When tartar builds up on your pet's teeth, it can lead to bad breath, bleeding, receding gums, pain and even eventual tooth loss.


According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop gum disease by the age of three years.  If left untreated, dental disease is painful, makes it difficult to eat, damages the kidneys, liver and heart. In our older pets, dental disease increases diseases of kidneys, liver and/or heart. We strongly consider dental care an important piece of your dog's or cat's preventive health care program.


Signs of Pet Dental Problems


To prevent your pet from developing painful and infectious conditions, it is important to keep his/her teeth clean and healthy. Halitosis, or bad breath, is the most common sign of dental disease. Classic "doggy/kitty breath" is not necessarily normal. The major cause of halitosis is periodontal disease. This is an infection of the gums and potentially the other supporting structures of the teeth. Plaque builds up every day on the tooth surface including at the gum line.


If left in place, the plaque can mineralize, or harden, in less than two days, forming calculus or tartar. The continued build-up of tartar above and below the gum line can eventually produce an environment for certain types of bacteria that may be more destructive to the periodontal tissues and also produce a more noticeable odor.


Other symptoms of dental disease include:


  • A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line

  • Red and swollen gums

  • Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth or gums are touched

  • Decreased appetite or difficulty eating

  • Loose or missing teeth















Our Dental Exams Include:

  • Oral examinations with/without anesthesia

  • Diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease 

  • Extractions and surgical repair, as appropriate

  • Supra and subgingival scaling using an ultrasonic scaler

  • A well trained Veterinary Dental Hygenist working with our Veterinarians 

  • A thorough polishing to prevent rapid recurrence 

  • Irrigation 

  • Fluoride application

Should we find any issues, such as evidence of gum or tooth erosion, gingivitis, or excessive plaque buildup, we will discuss this with you and offer treatment options for your pet. We are experienced dental practitioners and can offer many dental procedures and oral surgeries.


PIVS helps prevent serious dental problems by including complete dental exams with each puppy vaccination, again at 6 months of age, and then annually. In between visits check your pet's teeth regularly for signs of problems. Many people regularly brush their pet's teeth.  Others use oral liquids like Leba III, toothpaste impregnated rawhides (CET chews) and other products available in our office. Historically, coconut husk has been used in Guam as a toothbrish.  Dogs that routinely chew coconut husks seems to have great teeth.    


For assistance with products for home dental care, please ask a staff member at Pacific Islands Veterinary Services for instructions. We're happy to help.

Caring for Your Pet's Teeth and Gums at Home

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