Pet Oral Care

Pet dental care at Frisco Animal Hospital

Teeth and the Health and Well Being of your Pet

Our goal is for your pet to live a healthy and comfortable life. The health of your pet's mouth directly impacts their overall health and well-being. Disease processes of the mouth are all too often not recognized and progress onward, either missed or dismissed. Most pet owners would be more concerned about their pets teeth if they were not tucked under their lips and hidden from view in the back recesses of the mouth. Just like people, dogs and cats can have significant disease hidden from view below the gums. Pets often manifest dental pain in very subtle ways that is often missed or misread. Many pet owners misperceive that everything must be OK in their pet's mouth because they are still eating. Pets have evolved to survive and will continue to eat despite painful oral conditions. Dogs and cats will put up with a lot of discomfort, disease processes often progress to extreme stages before the pet will stop eating. Sadly, some pets live out their lives with unhealthy and painful conditions in their mouths.

Feline dental care

Our Commitment to Dental Care

All of us at Frisco Animal Hospital feel dental care is one of the biggest part of your pet's overall health. We have a dedicated dental suite in our hospital. The suite is equipped with;

  • Digital Dental X-ray system with a large viewing screen for X-ray image evaluation
  • Extensive Anesthetic monitoring equipment that monitors; blood pressure, body temperature, respiration rate, and heart, EKG, PO2 & CO2
  • IV fluid administration systems
  • Warming systems to maintain body temperature throughout the anesthetic procedures
  • Ultrasonic scalers
  • Low speed handpiece polishers
  • High speed dental drills and restorative equipment
  • Sterile hand instrumentation for periodontal cleaning
  • Equipment for bonding/sealing and restorative procedures
  • Magnifying loupes
  • Digital photography

Dr. Fatora continues to stay abreast of the latest dental techniques and developments by annual participation in the Veterinary Dental Forum.

Feline gingivitis

We are trained and equipped to perform:

  • Thorough periodontal cleaning and polishing. This includes cleaning the teeth above the gumline and well as below, in the gingival sulcus. (Below the gumline is where the trouble brews but it is out of your view)
  • Thorough and complete dental charting of any abnormalities and disease. 
  • Dental X-rays and their evaluation
  • Dental bonding and sealing of enamel fractures on teeth that succumbed to the injury
  • Dental restorative techniques for enamel malformations and caries, in dogs, that are caught early enough in the dog
  • Surgical tooth extractions with appropriate pain management
  • Biopsy of oral lesions
  • Oral surgery for oral cancers
  • Minimally invasive treatment of base narrow canines when discovered early, in puppy growth phase.
  • Periodontal/Gum surgery.

There are several board certified veterinary dentists in the Denver area offering Root Canal Therapy as well as other highly specialized techniques.

Healthy canine teeth

Our Goals for you and your Pet's Dental Health

In order for your pet to have a healthy and comfortable mouth there are things that need to be done. There are some large breed dogs that live their lives with minimal home care and yet they appear to have minimal periodontal disease. However, the majority of our patients will benefit from some level of dental care.

The two things we would like to see all of our pet owners do: To observe your pet's mouth and gums and to know what to be aware of and what to look for. To do some level of at home plaque control. Brushing is the absolute, hands down, gold standard of the best thing you can do for the health of your pet's teeth and their gums. Brushing is not as difficult as many perceive and we can help teach the art of brushing.

As important as home care is, it cannot take the place of professional periodontal cleaning. The goal of all these efforts is to keep the gums healthy and keep the teeth in the mouth. However, just like us, with all our brushing we still need periodic professional periodontal cleanings. The degree of periodontal disease varies a lot in our patients. Genetics plays a big role in determining the degree of periodontal disease in your pet but the home care makes a big difference in the control of the disease. Genetics and home care determine how often your pet should have a professional teeth cleaning. An oral exam is an important part of your pet's annual wellness exam. Depending on your pet's oral health we may recommend oral checkups more frequent than their annual wellness exam.

Sadly, the level of dental care many of our pets have is on par with what poor and unfortunate members of our society receive. A lot of teeth are extracted as a result of this. Often, by the time we see teeth that require extraction due to periodontal disease there is irreversible gum and bone damage to the surrounding teeth. This makes it all the more difficult to keep the periodontal disease from continuing its advance and damaging those teeth. We would love to see more efforts directed at prevention of periodontal disease and preservation of teeth and gums.

Frisco Animal Hospital dental care for rabbits

Myths We Need to Dispel

Bones are not "good" for your dog's teeth. It does not matter if they are cooked or raw, they are trouble. Anything hard enough to hammer a nail with is hard enough for your dog to break and kill a tooth with. See our Dental Myth page.

Dental Procedures

Professional periodontal cleanings are done as an outpatient procedure. General anesthesia is required to do proper periodontal cleanings. Periodontal disease brews below the gumline and requires a general anesthesia to properly access and clean this area on all of the teeth. The endotracheal tube used with general anesthesia protects the lungs from debris and infectious material that is aerosolized during the cleaning process.

Our goal is to minimize the impact of anesthesia on your pet. We want you pet to go home feeling at least as well as they did as when they came in. With our IV fluid therapy and low impact anesthesia protocols we see very smooth anesthetic awakenings that are tolerated very well overall. For our patients that have undergone extractions or needed more involved dental procedures; we want them to be comfortable and able to eat well and heal quickly.

Pain management is an important part of what we do. We want our patients to heal quickly, be comfortable and able to eat well.

Canine teeth brushing

Estimating the Cost

We will first do a thorough oral exam Before you schedule a professional periodontal cleaning with us. However, even the most cooperative patient cannot tell us if a tooth hurts so we cannot know the full extent of the periodontal disease under the gumline until we do a thorough cleaning and probing of the gums. Dental X-rays are part of most cleanings and evaluations. We do our best to assess what level of cleaning to anticipate. This will include the range of anesthesia time anticipated as well as a cost estimate for any apparently dead teeth that we will likely recommend extraction for. However, we cannot estimate for problems that we cannot see. Often problems are hidden below the gumline and are not evident until after the cleaning, charting and radiographs are done.

After the cleaning, charting and radiographs are done, we will contact you while your pet is under anesthesia and inform you of what we found and what treatment options and recommendations there are. We are trying to provide the best care for your pet and we do not intend to put you in a situation where you feel pressured to make a quick decision. You might be uncertain or uncomfortable making a decision at the time of the phone call. If you find yourself in that position we offer you the option of having us wake your pet from the anesthesia without any further treatment. You can review your options later at your convenience. Should you decide within a week or so that you want to proceed with the recommended treatment. We would reschedule you for the procedure and you will not be charged for the reinduction of anesthesia and associated prep charges. You only end up paying for what you opted not to do earlier. The charges on the second visit are for the additional anesthesia time of the procedure as well as the fee for the procedure performed and medications used and dispensed. We do not want any one to feel pressured into making a decision they are not comfortable making.

Additional Resources

Dental Diets (PDF)
Brushing Your Pet's Teeth (PDF)
What Should I Give to my Dog to Chew? (PDF)