Hinesburg Veterinary Associates

167 Monkton Road, Suite 101A
Bristol, VT 05443



What's all this talk about dental disease in pets?  


To bring to light some very important information about your pet's dental health, we are posting some frequently asked questions that we hear in our hospitals every day.  And don't forget that if you schedule a dental procedure within 90 days of it's recommendation, there is a 10% discount on all dental services. 




Q:  Is bad breath that big of a deal in my dog?

A:  Bad breath is the sign of more serious things going on in our pets' mouths.  The origin of halitosis, or bad breath, is typically different in pets compared to humans.  In pets, it's the oral bacteria that's responsible for most of the bad breath smell.  If allowed to accumulate, the bacteria can cause an infection around the teeth called periodontal disease.  The unchecked progression of periodontal disease leads to destruction of the tissues (including bone) holding the teeth in place and can lead to tooth loss.  The most unfortunate aspects of this process are that it can lead to other health issues and it's painful for our 4 legged family members.



Q:  What is the brown stuff on my cat's teeth?

A:  The tan or brown proliferative material commonly seen on our pets' teeth is called calculus.  Think of calculus as the cement-like product of bacteria mixing with saliva.  One of the biggest concerns we have with calculus is that it provides a rough terrain for even more bacteria to get a foothold in the mouth.  This feeds the fire of advancing periodontal disease.  When we clean the teeth with an ultrasonic scaling instrument, we can easily remove calculus and improve your pet's oral health immediately!

Calculus and gingivitis on a pet's teeth and gums 




Q:  I've heard that anesthetizing my dog for a dental cleaning is not safe.  Doesn't the risk outweigh the benefit?

A:  At Hinesburg Veterinary Associates, we select the safest anesthetic drugs for each patient based on their age, breed, and health status.  All dogs and cats receive intravenous fluids to support their blood pressure during anesthesia, and we also use of cutting-edge technology to measure such things as blood pressure and  respiratory and heart function.  Lastly, the care of our well-trained veterinary technicians dramatically reduces the risk of using anesthesia in most veterinary patients.





Q:  Is anesthesia even necessary for dental cleaning?

A:  The worst part of the evolution of periodontal disease takes place below the gum line.  This area of a pet?s mouth is essentially impossible to reach without full access to every side of each tooth.  Although we know plenty of great dogs and cats that are very willing to let us do almost anything, we don?t know any that would lie still with their mouths open long enough to perform a thorough dental examination and cleaning!