Signs Your Pet Needs to See a Dental Specialist

Sometimes furry family members require professional dental care. So where do you begin?



There are many primary care veterinarians that excel at dentistry; but before proceeding with routine dental work, you should ask your veterinarian these questions:


1. Are they comfortable performing your dog or cat’s dental work? Who performs the surgery? Some places still have technicians performing dental surgery, which is illegal in most US states.

2. Do they take dental x-rays and are they comfortable interpreting them?

3. Are they comfortable with your pet’s anesthetic risk and is there a dedicated licensed employee monitoring the anesthesia?


There are times where a dental specialist might be helpful for your pets dental needs.



What is a veterinary dentist?


A veterinary dentist is a veterinarian who has completed multiple years of extra study in the field of dentistry and oral surgery and then passed rigorous examinations to become board-certified by the American Veterinary Dental College (visit for a list of board-certified dentists in your area).


How do you know if your dog or cat requires specialty dental care?


1. If your pet has any systemic disease or heart disease that make anesthesia riskier. Specialists often work with cardiologists and anesthesiologists to minimize risks and can also work to make the procedure as short as possible.

2. If you are interested in saving teeth over having them extracted.

3. If your pet requires multiple extractions or advanced surgery. Example: The lower canines and 1st molars can be very difficult extractions, especially in small breeds.

4. If there is an oral tumor or severe injury, such as a broken jaw.

5. If your vet doesn’t have dental x-rays.

6. If your vet recommends specialty care.


Veterinary dentists have a passion for dental surgery and chose the profession to fill a need for better and more advanced dental care. We are here to make sure your dog or cat’s mouth is as happy and healthy as possible!



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Dr. Mary Buelow

Dr. Mary Buelow is a Board-Certified Veterinary Dentist practicing in Leesburg, VA. She lives with her husband, two rescue dogs (Frankie and Noodle) and two rescue cats (Kitten and Squash), for a total of 135 teeth. We won't say who's missing what...

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