Dentistry, Advanced Dentistry and Dental Referrals

We have been providing advanced dental referral care to to our own patients and those referred to us by our colleague’s clinics since the 1970’s. Dr. James Libby was one of the founders of veterinary dentistry in the state of Minnesota and Dr. Burk and Dr. Lehnert have continued this tradition for many years. Drs. Burk and Lehnert see dental referral cases from other local clinics for the advanced services we offer.

Dental Referral Form

Our clients enjoy the advanced dental care they need in the comfort and personal touch of our locally owned, AAHA Accredited practice. We tailor comprehensive anesthesia approach to each patient. We are compassionate about clients’ needs and worries about anesthesia and dentistry and are happy to help them help their pets. We have a long standing standing history of highly satisfied clients and happy, healthy patients. We provide a detailed written referral summary promptly with each case.

Dental Services Available

  • Advanced Dental Cleanings including ultrasonic scaling, hand scaling, polishing, antiseptic rinse and full mouth screening digital dental radiographs.
  • Dental Extractions of all types and levels of difficulty.
  • Endodontic Care such as root canal therapy and vital pulp therapy.
  • Composite Restorations; sealing of exposed dentin on teeth with uncomplicated crown fracture.
  • Rim Excision of Oral Masses
  • Jaw Fracture Repair is available, however severe and extensive trauma may need to be treated by an ICU team with access to CT.
  • Bite Evaluations include correction of traumatic malocclusion via orthodontics or selective extraction.
  • Gingevectomy/Gingivoplasty
  • Exotic Dental Care for Rabbits, Chinchillas, Hedgehogs, Small Rodents and Guinea Pigs including dental cleanings, molar leveling, incisor trimming, radiography and extractions.

AAHA Dental Care Guidelines

© American Animal Hospitals Association

As an AAHA Accredited practice with strong focus on Dentistry, South Hyland is proud to follow these Dental Care Guidelines established by the American Animal Hospitals Association and published on their site designed for pet-owners,

Proper dental care can detect dental disease that not only affects the mouth, but can also lead to more serious health problems such as heart, lung, and kidney disease. Good dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Yet, it is one of the most overlooked areas in pet health. Studies by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) reveal that nearly two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the dental care recommended by veterinarians. AAHA’s Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats are a working framework for small animal dentistry practice, including dental examinations, cleanings, and surgical procedures.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth that takes hold in progressive stages.

How it Starts and Progresses

Periodontal Disease starts out as a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria attaches to the teeth. When the bacteria die they can be calcified by calcium in saliva. This forms a hard, rough substance called tartar or calculus, which allows more plaque to accumulate. Initially, plaque is soft and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can dislodge it. If left to spread, plaque can lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, causing them to become red and swollen and to bleed easily. As plaque and calculus develop below the gum line, professional cleaning will be needed to help manage it. If the plaque and tartar buildup continues unchecked, infection can form around the root of the tooth.

In the final stages of periodontal disease, the tissues surrounding the tooth are destroyed, the bony socket holding the tooth in erodes, and the tooth becomes loose. This is a very painful process for your four-legged friend, but these problems can be averted before they start with proper dental care.

AAHA Guidelines

Oral Examinations: AAHA recommends that veterinarians evaluate puppies and kittens for problems related to deciduous (baby) teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth, swelling, and oral development. As pets age, your veterinarian will examine your pet for developmental anomalies, accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease, and oral tumors. The veterinarian can perform a basic oral examination while pets are awake. However, short-lasting anesthetic is required for a more complete examination.

Dental cleanings: Guidelines recommend regular examinations and dental cleanings under general anesthesia for all adult dogs and cats. These cleanings should take place annually starting at one year for cats and small-breed dogs, and at two years of age for larger-breed dogs.

Other Guideline Recommendations

  • Pre-anesthetic exam–Your veterinarian should examine your pet to ensure it is healthy enough to go under general anesthesia. This examination may include:
    • Blood tests
    • Urine tests
    • Electrocardiography
    • X-rays
  • Anesthesia monitoring–When your pet is under anesthesia, its vital signs (such as body temperature, heart rate, and respiration) should be monitored and recorded. This helps ensure your pet’s safety while under anesthesia.
  • Dental radiographs–X-rays of your pet’s teeth are needed periodically to evaluate your pet’s oral health. X-rays also help veterinarians detect abnormalities that cannot be seen through physical examination alone. They can also confirm the need for tooth extraction when teeth are loose or badly infected.
  • Scaling and polishing–Using instruments much like human dentists, veterinarians remove plaque and calculus from your pet’s teeth. Polishing with a special paste smoothes out scratches to the tooth enamel.
  • Fluoride/sealants–By applying an anti-plaque substance, such as a fluoride treatment and/or a barrier sealant, the veterinarian helps strengthen and desensitize teeth and discourage the development of future plaque

Home Dental Care

Pet owners also play an important role in their animals’ oral health. Regular teeth brushing at home coupled with regular dental check-ups can help your pet live a longer, healthier life.


Q. Is there a physical sign that my pet has a dental problem?

A. Pets’ breath isn’t normally great smelling, but if it becomes particularly offensive, it could be a sign of a serious oral problem. Other signs include excessive drooling, loose teeth, tumors on the gums, and cysts beneath the tongue.

Q. What’s the best way to brush a dog’s teeth?

A. Use a brush or wrap your finger in gauze and hold it at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. Using small, circular motions, work in one area of the dog’s mouth at a time. Be sure to lift the dog’s lip if necessary to reach the teeth. Since the most tartar builds up on the tooth surfaces that touch the cheek, concentrate there and finish up with a downward stroke on the teeth to remove tartar. Your dog may not let you clean the backside of its teeth, but don’t worry about it because very little tartar builds up there.

Q. Is there anything else I can do to help my dog’s oral health?

A. Provide chew toys that help massage your pet’s gums and keep their teeth clean. Ask your veterinarian to recommend toxin-free chew toys. An added benefit of chew toys is their ability to reduce your dog’s stress level, eliminate boredom, and give pets an outlet for their desire to chew.



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Contact Info

5400 W Old Shakopee Rd.
Minneapolis, MN 55437

Monday:  7:00am – 6:00pm
Tuesday:  7:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday: 7:00am – 6:00pm
Thursday: 7:00am – 6:00pm
Friday; 7:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday: 8:30am – 12:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Call or text us at (952) 884-1868

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