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Veterinary Dentistry & Dental Surgery

The veterinary team at Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital is here to provide restorative and preventive pet dental health care and surgical procedures for dogs and cats. 

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Comprehensive Cat & Dog Dental Care 

Routine pet dental care is a critical part of your cat or dog's oral and overall health. Unfortunately, most pets don't actually receive the oral hygiene care they need in order to keep their gums and teeth healthy and happy. 

At our Capitola veterinary hospital, we provide complete dog and cat dental care, from basics such as dental exams, teeth cleanings, and polishing, to dental x-rays and surgeries.

We are also proud to be able to provide pet owners with education about their pet's oral health, including steps they can take at home to help with their oral hygiene.

Dental Care, Capitola Vet

Dental Surgery in Capitola

We know that discovering your pet requires dental surgery can be a bit of an overwhelming experience. We strive, however, to make this process as stress-free as we can for both you and your pet

We will do everything we can to help ensure that your pet's experience with us is as comfortable and easy as possible. We will walk through each step of the procedure with you in detail before beginning. We will also explain any preparative or post-operative care you will need to give your furry family member. 

We offer jaw fracture repair surgeries, tooth extractions, and gum disease treatment for dogs and cats.

Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams

Just like your own annual dental checkup, your cat or dog should come into our Capitola veterinary hospital for a dental exam at least once every year. Pets who are more prone to oral health issues than others may require assessment for dental health problems more often than that.

Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital can assess, diagnose and treat dental health problems in cats and dogs. 

  • Symptoms

    If you notice any of the following symptoms in your pet, it's time for a dental checkup.

    • Bad breath 
    • Tartar buildup
    • Bleeding from the mouth
    • Loose and/or broken teeth
    • Discolored teeth
    • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
    • Abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food from the mouth 
    • Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
    • Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
    Contact Us to Book a Dental Checkup
  • Assessment

    A thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before the dental exam. 

    We will take blood and urine analyses to ensure it's safe for your pet to undergo anesthesia. Additional diagnostics, such as chest radiographs or an ECG may also be conducted. 

    After your pet has been placed under anesthesia, we will conduct a tooth-by-tooth oral exam and charting. 

  • Treatment

    Next, the teeth are cleaned and polished (including under the gum line) and x-rays are taken. We then apply a fluoride treatment to each tooth. 

    The final step in the process is the application of a dental sealant to your pet's teeth to prevent plaque from attaching to their teeth. If we find any advanced periodontal disease throughout the process, our vets will also create a detailed treatment plan at this time. 

  • Prevention

    Ideally, a follow-up examination will be scheduled two weeks after the initial assessment and treatment appointment. 

    During this visit, we will discuss implementing teeth brushing at home. We can also recommend products that can help improve your pet's oral health. 

FAQs About Pet Dental Care

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our patients about pet dental care.

  • Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?

    Our pets can develop periodontal disease or tooth decay as a consequence of poor oral health. 

    Just like in people, when animals eat, the plaque sticks to their teeth and can build up into tartar if it isn't promptly brushed away.

    This can lead to infections in the mouth, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even loose or missing teeth. That's why regular dental care is essential to preventing pain or disease in the gums.

  • How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?

    Did you know behavior may be an indication of oral health problems? If your pet is experiencing dental problems, they drool excessively (and the drool may contain pus or blood), or you may notice them pawing at their mouth or teeth. They may also yawn excessively, grind their teeth, or stop grooming sufficiently.

    Other signs of oral health issues and health problems include swollen gums, tooth discoloration, bad breath, and more. Some pets may even suffer from pain that stops them from eating altogether. For more information about the symptoms of oral health issues, read the section to the left under Pet Teeth Cleaning & Exams. 

  • What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?

    On top of causing health issues ranging from cavities and bad breath to severe gum disease, oral health issues can cause diseases in your pet's heart, kidneys, liver, and other internal organs. 

    Cysts or tumors may develop. Your pet may also not feel well in general (if you've ever had a toothache, you know how it can affect your mood!). In addition, diseases related to oral health conditions can shorten the lifespan of your pet and cause significant pain. 

    This is why regular dental care is so essential to animals' physical health and wellbeing. 

  • What happens during a pet's teeth cleaning appointment?

    During your pet’s regular oral exam, the vet will examine his or her mouth and look for oral health conditions or any symptoms needing treatment.

      The vet will clean tartar and other debris from your cat's or dog's teeth. If cavities, gingivitis, or other conditions need to be addressed, the vet will explain these to you and provide advice on which actions you should take. 

      In some cases, surgery will be needed to treat serious conditions. Your pet will be provided with anesthesia before their dental procedure to ensure they are comfortable and do not experience any pain. However, special care will be needed post-surgery. 

      If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a dental appointment with us. 

    • What should I do at home to keep my pet’s teeth clean between dental appointments?

      At home, you should brush your pet's teeth on a regular basis and give them dental chew toys. These will help eliminate plaque. 

      Do not allow them to chew on things that will damage their teeth, such as bones, toys, or objects that are too hard. Always contact your vet with any questions or concerns regarding your pet's oral health. 

    Veterinary Dentistry: Anesthesia & Your Pet's Oral Health

    Cats and dogs do not understand what is going on during dental procedures, and will often react to dental procedures by struggling or biting.

    Similar to the anesthesia administered to nervous patients at a human dentist, our Capitola vets are able to provide your pet with anesthesia before performing any dental procedures. This allows us to take our time to properly conduct the required diagnostics and procedures, in addition to placing less stress on your four-legged friend.

    Contact Us To Learn More

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    New Patients Welcome

    Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Capitola companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

    Contact Us

    (831) 222-5520