Eighty percent of dogs and cats show oral disease by age 3, and it is the most common health problem treated in small animal health clinics today. The build-up of bacteria in your pet’s mouth may cause more than just bad breath. Bacteria is also the cause of oral disease and diseases in other organs like the heart, liver and kidneys. Veterinary Associates of South Florida offer you the high quality dental services.




Dental plaque is a sticky substance that covers the teeth. It consists of bacteria, saliva, food particles and epithelial cells. Plaque builds up on the tooth surface and gum line every day. Left undisturbed the plaque can mineralize, or harden, in less than 2 days, forming calculus or tartar. Plaque can get worse where teeth are closer together, which will result in bad breath.




Dental tartar is a film that covers teeth consisting of calcium phosphate and carbonate, food particles and other organic matter. The tartar will stick to the tooth surface forming a scaffold for more plaque accumulation. The continued build-up of tartar both above and below the gum line can eventually produce an environment that is a haven for certain types of bacteria that may be more destructive to the periodontal tissues and also produce a more noticeable odor. 

Just like humans, pet’s teeth are prone to plaque build-up, and when allowed to combine with saliva and residual food between the tooth and gum, plaque turns to tartar. If plaque and tartar are not removed routinely by your Veterinarian, they may cause periodontal disease.

Dogs and cats get common dental problems such as dental plaque tartar, gum and tooth disease. It’s important to understand the differences between plaque, tartar and periodontal disease and how to prevent them.




Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums most commonly caused by the accumulation of food particles in the crevices between the gums and teeth. The main symptom is bleeding, although you may also notice redness, pain and difficulty in chewing. If gingivitis is not treated, it may lead to periodontitis.


Periodontal Disease


Periodontal disease is a very common infectious disease caused by bacteria that make up plaque. This results in inflammation of the structures that support teeth, the gum tissue, periodontal ligament, alveolus (small cavity) and cementum (bonelike connective tissue covering the root of a tooth and assisting in tooth support). Symptoms of periodontal disease include bad breath and red or inflamed gums. There are other signs of dental disease in your pet that may be more subtle.

Pets may preferentially choose softer foods; play with chew toys less and decline crunchy treats. You may also notice your pet chewing more on the sides of his mouth. He may chew less in general and this sometimes causes the pet to vomit, seen as undigested or poorly chewed food. Increased salivation, pawing at or rubbing the face can be another indication of oral pain.


Broken Teeth


Broken teeth are a common problem. Most commonly caused by aggressively chewing on hard objects.


Some of the routine procedures we perform include:


Endodontic therapy

Jaw fracture repair

Surgical extractions



Treatment of periodontal disease

Oral cancer surgery