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(415) 479-8535 H

(415) 479-8535

Dental Care

Dental problems are easily prevented, but if left untreated, they can often lead to larger systemic problems due to oral bacteria entering the bloodstream and damaging the kidneys, heart and liver. For this reason, dentistry is a special interest of Dr. Martha Davis and an area where she has pursued advanced training.

At Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital, we provide comprehensive dental exams and cleanings. While the pet is anesthetized, we probe and chart the periodontal pockets. Calculus on the teeth is removed with an ultrasonic scaler; periodontal pockets are cleaned, an antibiotic gel is applied to promote healing; and then the clean teeth are polished and a sealant is applied.

Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital also believes that digital oral radiography is an important aspect of preventative dental care. This technology allows us to take a really deep look at the structure of the tooth below the gum line—including the surrounding bone—and plan the most appropriate treatment for your pet.

Treatment of oral disease requires specialized knowledge and equipment in order to be done properly, all of which can be found at Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital.

A Therapeutic Oral Exam


  • General anesthesia
  • Dental radiographs (5-10 views depending on mouth size)
  • Measurement of periodontal pockets
  • Ultrasonic dental scaling (above and below the gum line)
  • Polishing
  • Individually sterilized probes, dental burrs and files
  • Individualized pain management

Possible Additional Services:

Extractions/Periodontal Therapy (based on individual oral exams)

  • Extractions

When a tooth breaks, decays, or becomes infected, an extraction may become the appropriate treatment. In the state of California, extractions may only be performed by veterinarians or RVTs (licensed technicians).

Our goal is providing the least trauma during the extraction process, while being thorough in our treatment. There are several steps involved in extracting a tooth, from sectioning roots in larger teeth, to the loosening of the periodontal ligament (which holds the tooth in place), to the actual extraction, cleansing of the surrounding cone and tissue, and suturing if required. For some teeth, creation of a gingival flap (lifting the gums away from the bone) is necessary to allow appropriate access.

For extractions that involve bone loss, Consil (a bone matrix) can be utilized in certain cases to prevent soft tissue from filling in the defects and instead encourage bone replacement which strengthens the jaw. Once Consil is applied, the gingival tissue is sutured closed.

Extractions can take anywhere from 10–60 minutes and are charged based on total time for the extraction.

General Anesthesia – During general anesthesia, an endotracheal tube is placed in your pet’s airway, which helps control anesthesia and protects the lungs from aerosolized bacteria in the mouth.

Dental Radiographs – We use digital radiography to allow us to visualize the tooth root and the surrounding bone. This allows us to see the health of those hidden structures, as 40% of dental disease is below the gum line and cannot be detected without radiographs.

Periodontal Pockets – Measurements help to determine the true progression of periodontal disease. Bacteria colonize pockets and lead to destruction of the periodontal ligament and eventually bone loss.

Ultrasonic Dental Scaling – Use of an ultrasonic scaler (very similar to what is used in your dentist’s office) allows efficient removal of plaque and tartar from the tooth surface and from beneath the gum line. The sound and movement of the scaler is one of the reasons we anesthetize patients.

Polishing – Polishing your pet’s teeth helps to smooth out any scratches in the enamel, providing fewer surfaces for bacteria to adhere to.

Periodontal Therapy

During professional dental care, the periodontal pockets are measured on every tooth. Bacteria colonize pockets and lead to destruction of the periodontal ligament and eventually lead to bone loss.

Periodontal therapies are performed during the professional dental care process and involve treatment of problems below the gum line. Clients need to be committed to providing home dental care for their pet on a daily basis in order for long term benefits to be achieved with these therapies.

Periodontal pockets are measured in millimeters. For cats, average pocket depth is 1-2mm; for dogs 1-4mm.

For dogs, we have an effective option for pockets with a depth of over 4mm; Doxirobe gel therapy. When we fill periodontal pockets with this gel, it places doxycycline at the site of infection and keeps it there. Doxirobe is biodegradable, and therefore does not need to be removed. This treatment has been shown to reduce pocket depth, increase reattachment and reduce gum inflammation.

Home Care

Dental care does not begin or end at our doors. It is also important for you to provide home dental care and recognize the warning signs of dental disease, which include:

  • Bad breath—one of the first signs of dental disease
  • 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

Please feel free to talk to any of our doctors or staff for instruction on how to properly care for your pet’s teeth.

Office Hours

Monday7am - 7pm
Tuesday7am - 7pm
Wednesday7am - 7pm
Thursday7am - 7pm
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
7am - 7pm 7am - 7pm 7am - 7pm 7am - 7pm 7am-7pm 8am-4pm Closed