Dental care for your pet is extremely important for overall health. Plaque and tartar build-up can lead to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), potentially causing periodontal disease (bacterial infection). Periodontal disease, if left untreated, can cause bad breath, tooth loss, inability to eat, and damage to internal organs.

Common signs of dental problems:

  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Salivating (drooling)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Yellow or brown crust on teeth
  • Losing teeth
  • Pawing or rubbing at mouth
  • Change in chewing habits
  • Difficulty eating

We can detect dental disease early during your pet’s annual wellness checks. We may recommend you schedule a scale and polish for your pet’s teeth, or discuss ways to manage their dental hygiene with diets, etc.

70-80% of cats and dogs over three years of age have dental disease!

cat-dentistry-before-after
Left: Pre-dental, obvious tartar and gingivitis. Right: Post dental, after a descale & polish.

Dental procedures

Unfortunately, cats and dog don’t like staying awake for dental procedures. We will anaesthetise your pet for any dental procedures. We will do a full oral evaluation once they are asleep. We then individually scale the teeth with an ultrasonic scalar, thoroughly removing all tartar and plaque (including under the gum line). Then we polish the teeth to create a smooth glossy surface which is more resistant to plaque build-up. Tooth extractions are a common practice. Sometimes removing a tooth is the only option.

Some reasons for extractions may include:

  • Painful teeth with enamel defects
  • Fractured teeth with dentin or pulp exposure
  • Severe periodontal disease
  • Pulpitis (inflamed pulp)
  • Pulp infection
  • Root abscess
  • Retained deciduous teeth (baby teeth)

Sometimes, we have to remove all of your pet’s teeth. This might seem ludicrous, but this extensive procedure actually relieves your animal from incredible pain, and helps them live longer. When performed correctly, it will make your pet happier and more comfortable.

dog-dentistry-before-after
Left: Pre-dental, dental disease grade 1. Right: Post-dental, after descale and polish.

Dental radiographs

Dental radiography is a vital diagnostic tool available to the veterinarian whilst they complete a dental procedure on a pet. Dental X-rays can show us which teeth need to be extracted, if any. They also show us if the job is complete, or if there is more work to be done, for example if a painful piece of tooth root is left behind. The x-rays allow the internal anatomy of the teeth, roots and the bone that surrounds the roots to be examined – which are not obvious to the eye.

dental-radiograph
Dental radiograph of a cat’s jaw.

Dental radiographs are made using a small radiographic film, which is placed inside the patient’s mouth whilst they are under a general anaesthetic (so they cannot bite down or move). These images allow the veterinarian to examine the individual teeth or particular sections of the mouth, helping to determine best plan of action for that particular patient.

We will make a recommendation on whether or not to take radiographs of specific teeth, or all the teeth, when we exam your pet’s mouth during their physical examination. However, we cannot always get a good view of your pet’s mouth as some pet’s don’t let us look in their mouth or they are moving too much. There are times, when these may only become apparent the teeth require an x-ray once the patent under anaesthesia – we can get a thorough look of the pet’s mouth whilst they are asleep. These radiographs can also establish a base-line for future comparison.

After care

Dental hygiene is very important post dentistry, as plaque and tartar will begin forming with a few days after a scale and polish. There are many ways to help maintain your pet’s dental hygiene.

We recommend the following to help maintain dental hygiene after dental work or surgery:

 

Please feel free to discuss which method suits your animal’s teeth with one of our qualified veterinary nurses.