9041 Gaither Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 ~ 301-990-9460

Procedures Performed

Root Canal Therapy

Screenshot 2014-05-03 20.02.09Root canal therapy is an excellent option for saving important teeth that have been fractured or are determined to be non-vital. The procedure is performed exactly as it would be for a human, except your pet will be dreaming peacefully under anesthesia. In many cases, root canal therapy is much easier on your pet than extraction, and preserves the structure of the tooth. It is important to have the root canal x-rayed periodically to monitor for any problems.

Restorations for caries and enamel defects

Screenshot 2014-05-03 20.06.44Pets can get cavities too! Although cavities do not occur as frequently in animals as in humans, it is important to treat these problems before they can progress to more serious problems such as infection or tooth loss. Cavity restoration is performed just as it would be in people. Additionally, some pets are born with abnormalities or defects in the tooth enamel. These defects can be restored to provide a more normal tooth structure.


Screenshot 2014-05-03 20.08.55Crowns are placed on fractured teeth to provide the strength to the tooth structure. This is often performed on working dogs or pets who need their teeth for specific activities. The crowns are made of non-precious metal and require one episode of anesthesia for creating the molds, and a second for placing the crowns.

Tooth Resorption

dental lesionsTR_diagram_all_stagesFeline dental resorptive lesions is a disease process that starts with inflammation of the gum and can progress to weakening and fracture of the tooth. For reasons unknown, the body begins to break down the adult tooth. These lesions can be very painful and should be treated, generally with extraction. The disease can be progressive and affect many teeth over several years. It is important to have regular checkups and yearly dental cleanings to monitor for these lesions.

Vital pulp therapy

Vital Pulp TherapyYoung dogs that have very recently fractured a tooth may be a candidate for vital pulp therapy. This procedure keeps the tooth alive and is very minimally invasive. For best results, this procedure should be performed within 48 hours of the tooth fracture. If your pet is not a candidate for this procedure, root canal therapy can still be performed to preserve the structure and function of the tooth.

Tumors of the maxilla, mandible and facial area

10 plasma cell post DCF 1.0Oral tumors are very common in dogs and cats. Many of these tumors can be successfully removed with surgery. Benign tumors can be cured with surgery alone, and malignant tumors can be treated with surgery and some combination of radiation or chemotherapy. In many cases oral tumors cause a great degree of discomfort or are bleeding and need to be removed to allow your pet to be more comfortable.

Surgical extraction of diseased teeth

periodontalPeriodontal disease is extremely common in dogs and cats. Over 80% of dogs and cats over two years of age have some degree of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is best prevented by yearly professional dental cleanings starting at two years of age and at home brushing at least three times weekly. Brushing should begin at a very early age to allow your new pet to get used to regular brushing. In severe cases of infection or periodontal disease, the teeth may need to be surgically extracted. Extractions should always involve x-rays of the tooth first, as many teeth have multiple roots or may be diseased below where the eye can see. Extracting larger teeth in animals requires oral surgery, equivalent to removing wisdom teeth in people. It is vital that all of the tooth and roots be removed for the periodontal infection to resolve. In cases of important teeth with mild to moderate periodontal disease, multiple periodontal treatments can be offered to help save these teeth.

Repair of maxillofacial fracture

Maxillofacial repair image Maxillofacial trauma Fracture rad Maxillofacial trauma repairPets can be involved in trauma that can cause fractures to their head, teeth, and jaw bones. Correctly repairing these fractures is extremely important for your pet to have normal function of their mouth. If a jaw fracture is allowed to heal in an abnormal position, your pet may have great difficulty chewing and can be in significant pain. Many fractures can be successfully treated with minimally invasive oral procedures.

Congenital palate defects

Cleft repairCongenital cleft  Healed palateSome animals are born with a defect in their mouth called a cleft palate. These animals may have chronic upper respiratory infections and nasal discharge. They are also at risk for developing aspiration pneumonia. While repair of some of these defects may be difficult, there are multiple techniques available for repairing or reducing the size of the defects.

Therapy for oral inflammation

Stomatitis 2 Stomatitis unilateralDogs and cats can sometimes have severe inflammation of the mouth and gingivitis. It is not always known what is the exact cause of this very frustrating condition, but it can be successfully managed. In cases of severe inflammation, some or all of the teeth may need to be surgically extracted. This often greatly improves the pain and inflammation in the mouth. Laser therapy is also frequently used to treat this inflammation. The laser can help destroy abnormal inflamed tissue and allow normal tissue to return in its place. The laser treatments can be repeated as necessary to keep the inflammation under control.

Surgical management of diseases of the head and neck

SurgeryPicIn addition to dentistry and oral surgery procedures we also offer advanced surgical procedures for diseases of the head and neck. Dr. Mark Smith is a board certified surgeon and can provide treatments for a variety of diseases such as chronic ear infections, tumors of the head and neck, and laryngeal paralysis.

Advanced Oral Surgery Procedures: (Caution: some images are graphic)

Caudal Maxillectomy

Caudal Mandibulectomy

Rostral Maxillectomy