Pet Dental Care in Stillwater, MN and
Twin Cities

Pets are an important part of our lives, and just like us, they need proper dental care to ensure their overall health and well-being. Dental problems in pets can lead to a whole host of issues, including pain, infection, difficulty eating, and even damage to their internal organs. That’s why it’s crucial for pet owners in Stillwater, MN and the Twin Cities area to prioritize pet dental care. At Rivertown Animal Hospital, we offer a comprehensive range of dental services to help keep your dog or cat at their healthiest. Our doctors performing dental procedures have received comprehensive hands-on training in veterinary dentistry, including diagnosis of dental disease, anesthesia, radiology, oral exams, pain management, periodontal management, and both simple and surgical tooth extractions.

Animal Teeth Cleaning and Dental Surgery

When it comes to pet mouth care, regular teeth cleanings and pet dentistry play a critical role to help improve your pet’s oral health. These procedures are performed by our highly skilled veterinary team members, who are experienced in handling the unique dental needs of animals. Whether your pet needs a routine cleaning or a more complex dental surgery, our team is fully equipped to provide the highest quality care. 

Our comprehensive dental services include:

  • Professional dental cleaning with full oral exam
  • Digital dental x-rays to evaluate the 70% of the tooth that is below the gum line as well as the soft tissues around the teeth
  • Evaluation of all fractured and discolored teeth
  • Surgical extractions
  • Local anesthetic blocks for pain control
  • Assessment and treatment of Enamel defects

Routine Pet Dental Services

Rivertown  Animal Hospital  offers a wide range of pet dental services to meet the unique needs of your pet. From teeth cleanings to dental x-rays and tooth extractions, our veterinary dentists provide comprehensive care for your pet’s dental health.

Pet Teeth Cleaning

Pet teeth cleanings are essential to maintaining good oral hygiene for your furry friend. During a cleaning, our veterinary dentists will carefully remove plaque and tartar from your pet’s teeth, both above and below the gum line. This helps prevent the development of periodontal disease and other dental problems.

Pet Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays allow our veterinary dentists to assess the internal structures of your pet’s teeth, such as the roots and jaw bone. These images can help detect hidden dental problems and guide appropriate treatment plans.

Pet Tooth Extractions

A pet may require a tooth extraction when a tooth is severely damaged or infected. Our veterinary dentists are skilled in performing dental extractions, ensuring the procedure is as comfortable and stress-free as possible for your pet. Post-operative care instructions will be provided to ensure a smooth and pain free recovery for your furry friend.

Oral Surgery for Pets

Sometimes, pets may require oral surgery to address various dental issues. From managing severe periodontal disease, difficult extractions and removing oral tumors,, our team is well-versed in performing oral surgeries for pets. We utilize advanced techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to provide the highest standard of care. Our doctors recognize when your pet may benefit from the care of a veterinary dental specialist and will guide you if a referral is needed.  Saving a tooth by root canal therapy requires a veterinary dental specialist.  

At Rivertown Animal Hospital, we  are skilled in performing oral surgery for pets, addressing a wide range of dental and oral health issues in our beloved animal patients. As a veterinary hospital dedicated to the well-being of pets, we understand the importance of maintaining their oral health. Our experienced team, led by skilled veterinarians, is well-equipped to handle a variety of oral al procedures.

When a pet comes to us for oral surgery, we begin with a comprehensive examination and diagnostic imaging to assess the condition. To ensure our patients’ comfort and safety, we administer general anesthesia before the procedure. We use specialized instruments during the surgery to address issues such as damaged or infected teeth, periodontal disease, oral tumors, or congenital abnormalities. Our commitment doesn’t stop in the operating room; we provide diligent post-surgery care, including pain management and monitoring for potential complications. At Rivertown Animal Hospital, we believe that maintaining a pet’s oral health is essential for their overall well-being, as untreated dental problems can cause significant discomfort and even lead to systemic health issues.

A Fear-Free Environment

Our commitment to a Fear Free Practice extends to our dental procedures, which are performed through a Fear Free* approach and include comprehensive screening to ensure your pet does not have any medical issues that may prevent a successful procedure. We strive to reduce pain and anxiety during all of our patient interactions.

  • All pets receive a preanesthetic health evaluation and blood panel
  • Full anesthesia with state-of-the-art patient monitoring; IV fluids are warmed for comfort and a Bair Hugger covers your pet throughout the procedure to ensure your pet is warm and comfortable
  • Multimodal pain management, including local pain blocks and pain medications, to keep your pet comfortable before and after the procedure
  • Each professional dental cleaning includes an oral exam. Full mouth digital dental radiographs are taken on all patients to identify the 70 percent of dental disease that is found below the gumline.  Post extraction radiographs are taken to confirm extraction of all the roots.  Pets requiring surgical extractions have post-operative radiographs to confirm no roots Cold Laser Therapy (photobiomodulation) is used following all dental extractions as well as needed to treat inflammation of the mouth and gums following extractions and cleaning.  This reduces pain and inflammation and supports healing.l
  • Our dedicated surgical team will meet with you prior to discharge to go over detailed take home instructions to help you provide any  needed aftercare for your pet.  
  • One of our team will contact you the next day to check up on your pet.
  • A complimetary recheck is scheduled 10 to 14 days after the procedure for a final exam to answer your questions and provide guidance for continued home dental care

Taking care of your pet's teeth at home

While regular veterinary dental care is crucial, taking care of your pet’s teeth at home is essential for their overall health and can help prevent dental issues in the future. Here are some steps you can follow to maintain your pet’s oral hygiene:

  1. Regular Brushing: Just like humans, pets benefit from regular tooth brushing. Use a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) and start slowly, getting your pet used to the process. Daily brushing is ideal with a minimum of at least 2-3 times a week. Be gentle and patient, rewarding your pet with praise or treats.

  2. Dental Chews and Toys: Provide dental chews toys and other toys designed to help clean your pet’s teeth. These products can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup by mechanically removing debris as your pet chews.

  3. Dental Wipes or Gels: If your pet is resistant to brushing, consider using dental wipes or gels designed for pets. These products can help reduce plaque and bacteria.

  4. Diet: Feeding your pet high-quality, dental-specific pet food can be beneficial. These diets are formulated to promote dental health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup.

  5. Regular Checkups: Schedule regular checkups, including dental exams. Your vet can identify and address any dental issues early on and may recommend professional cleanings when necessary.

  6. Avoid Hard Objects: Discourage your pet from chewing on hard objects such as bones, antlers, hooves, or hard rawhides and hard toys  as they can lead to tooth fractures or damage. Always monitor your cats and dogs as they are chewing treats or toys.

  7. Water Additives: Consider adding dental water additives to your pet’s drinking water. These additives can help reduce plaque and bacteria levels in the mouth. Recommendations for these can be made by our team and found in our online store.

  8. Monitor for Signs of Dental Issues: Keep an eye out for signs of dental problems, including bad breath, drooling, swollen gums, bleeding, or changes in eating habits. If you notice any of these signs, consult your veterinarian promptly.

Remember that maintaining your pet’s dental health is important for their overall well-being. Regular at-home care and professional veterinary dental cleanings, as needed, can help ensure your furry friend enjoys good oral health throughout their life.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

Recognizing the signs of oral health problems in your pet is vital in ensuring early intervention and treatment. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a dental exam with us. Common signs of dental issues in pets include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red and inflamed gums
  • Dental calculus or discoloration
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Reluctance to chew on toys
  • Drooling
  • Pain on oral exam
  • Weight loss
  • Infections in the mouth
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Pus or blood

The above are symptoms or oral health issues, and scheduling a dental exam for your pet is important. 

Periodontal Disease in animals

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, and is entirely preventable. This disease in the gums can extend beyond your pet’s mouth, Some facts about your pet’s teeth and gums:

  • Periodontal disease can cause bacteria to spread through the bloodstream, negatively affecting the heart, liver and kidneys
  • Prevention includes regular dental exams, home oral care starting at a young age and regular professional cleanings
  • Treatment of existing dental disease requires dental x-rays, general anesthesia and appropriate therapy
  • Signs of dental disease include bad breath, brown or discolored teeth, loose teeth, red gums, salivation, pain with chewing and weight loss
  • Owners often never look under the lip to see the condition of their pet’s mouth, resulting in progression of dental disease and a painful mouth

Dental Resources

At Rivertown Animal Hospital, we believe in educating pet owners about the importance of dental care for their furry friends. We also recommend products that can help enhance your pet’s dental health, such as dental chews, toothbrushes, and oral rinses. By staying informed and proactive, you can ensure your pet’s oral and dental health is in optimal condition.

Common Questions and Concerns

  • Do dogs have to be put under anesthesia for teeth cleaning?

    One common question pet owners have is whether dogs need to be put under anesthesia for teeth cleaning. In most cases, dental cleanings for dogs require anesthesia to ensure the safety and comfort of the pet during the procedure. Anesthesia allows the veterinary dentist to thoroughly clean the teeth, including below the gum line, where most dental issues originate. 

  • Does pet insurance cover dentistry?

    Some pet insurance companies offer coverage for dental care, including routine cleanings, dental x-rays, and even oral surgeries. However, it’s essential to review your specific insurance policy to understand what is covered and any limitations or exclusions. Consulting with your veterinarian and your insurance company can also provide guidance on navigating pet insurance coverage for dental procedures.


    If you do not have pet insurance or your insurance does not cover the cost of dental x-rays and surgeries, advanced dental care, or other dental services, CareCredit may be an option for companion animals that require care to keep their teeth healthy or address issues that the pet is experiencing.  


    Finding out that your pet needs dental surgery can be worrisome, but financial options are available to help.

  • Why is dental care important for pets?

    Dental care is vital for pets because it helps maintain good oral and overall health and prevents complications of dental diseases. Untreated dental problems in pets can lead to pain, difficulty eating, infection, and even more severe health issues. Advanced periodontal disease is not only painful for pets, but the damage can extend to areas throughout your pet’s body, beyond their teeth. In addition to scheduling a dental examination at least once per year, brushing at home is an effective way to stay on top of the oral hygiene care they need. 

  • Do pet dental wipes work?

    Pet dental wipes are an alternative method for cleaning your pet’s teeth and gums if brushing with toothpaste is not feasible. While dental wipes can help remove plaque and food debris, they may not be as effective as brushing in preventing tartar buildup. It’s important to note that using dental wipes is not a replacement for regular dental care, including professional cleanings and regular exams. 


    The Veterinary Oral Health Council Lists products that are recommended by board certified veterinary dentists. Rivertown carries a variety of dental health products in our clinic and at our online store to help you provide the best at home care for your cat or dog.

  • Are there any long-term effects of poor oral health?

    Poor oral health in pets can have several long-term effects. Untreated dental diseases can lead to tooth loss, chronic pain, and infection. Additionally, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect vital organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. By maintaining good oral hygiene and providing regular dental care for your pet, you can minimize the risk of these long-term effects.

  • What do you do if you have concerns regarding your pet's oral health?

    When pets don’t get the oral care they need, decay and disease can progress  through their pet’s body. Preventing pain or disease by caring for their teeth on a regular basis can go a long way toward keeping them healthy However, if you notice symptoms of oral health issues, call us to schedule an appointment. Rivertown Animal Hospital is accepting new patients and would be happy to speak with you regarding dental procedures for your pet, as well as suggest the appropriate care they need. 


    At Rivertown Animal Hospital, we are passionate about the health of your pet. By caring for your pet’s teeth on a regular basis, both at home, and at the veterinary hospital, you can rest assured they will get the care  needed to spend many happy years with you. 


    Our experienced vets are passionate about the care pets need to keep them healthy and will develop a treatment plan that prioritizes your pet’s health and comfort.

“Jill received excellent care at Rivertown Animal Hospital when she had her teeth cleaned. She actually seemed pretty happy when I picked her up, for a cat that usually hates to go to the vet.”