Advances in veterinary dentistry in the last 10-15 years now make it possible to perform many of the same procedures on animals that we do on people. Good oral health is of vital importance if we want our pets to remain healthy. If infection or disease is present in the mouth, it can easily spread to other areas of the body, so itís important for good dental care to begin when your pet is young. If owners use veterinary-recommended products that enhance a healthy oral environment and decrease plaque and tartar buildup it will help to delay the need for professional cleaning and polishing. Eventually, many cats and dogs will need this cleaning to restore the mouth to a more healthy state. If oral disease and infection become severe enough, pets may experience pain and have difficulty chewing. In those cases, it may be necessary to extract the teeth that are causing the ongoing problem. Being proactive and consistent with dental care can prevent this. Annual wellness exams for your pet include checking their mouth and teeth. We will be happy to advise you on the best care for your pet including recommendations on brushing teeth or more comprehensive care. At Decorah Animal Hospital, we have a state-of-the-art digital radiograph unit to allow us to take full-mouth radiographs and determine if problems exist below the gum line that we cannot see. Our high-speed dental drill allows us to perform extractions and other procedures more quickly and safely than was previously possible.