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Dentistry

Dental Disease

Up to 85% of dogs and cats over the age of 6 have dental disease. Dental disease is not “normal” in pets. Dental tartar and bad breath is a source of infection in animals, it is painful and will progress to tooth loss. It is not possible to do a proper dental cleaning on animals unless they are under general anaesthesia. Animals need to be under anaesthesia so we can ultrasonically scale the inside and outside of the teeth as well as beneath the gum line.

When should your pet have a dental cleaning?

If there is visible tartar on the teeth then you should book a dental appointment for your pet.

Why does your pet have dental disease?

Pets acquire dental disease from not brushing the teeth and the foods we food along with a genetic predisposition in some pets. We brush our teeth every day and see a dentist regularly to prevent dental disease and the same steps are needed in pets as well.

How do I prevent dental disease in my pet?

Brushing the teeth EVERY DAY is the only way to prevent dental disease, some pets who receive brushing daily, still need dental treatment. Using dental diets, sprays, sealers and wipes can help but not as much as brushing.

What does a dental procedure involve?

Your pet will have a physical exam, bloodwork if necessary and an intravenous catheter before anaesthesia is given. After you pet is anaesthetised he/she will be connected to anaesthetic monitors and observed by a trained veterinary nurse at all times.  A veterinarian will then clean and polish all of the teeth and evaluate each tooth for health with probing and radiographs. We will then contact you and advise you what needs to be done and the costs of this.

What are dental x-rays and are they necessary?

Dental x-rays for pets are the same as for people, we use the some equipment! Dental x-rays allow us to evaluate the tooth below the gum line as well as evaluate the enamel of the teeth. 60% of the tooth lies under the gums and must be evaluated with dental X-rays. X-rays allow assessment of the tooth, root, bone as well as adjacent structures (teeth, nasal cavity, sinus). X-rays will also allow us to assess if a tooth has an extra root, if infection has extended to an adjacent healthy appearing tooth, un erupted or impacted teeth. Teeth which need to be extracted must be assessed for root fractures or ankyloses (fusing of the root into the surrounding bone). Cats are prone to resorptive lesions some of which can only be seen via X-rays as they are beneath the gum margin.

How will my pet eat if several teeth are extracted?

This is a concern for many owners, however removing diseased teeth is actually better for your pet. No teeth is better than bad teeth! Many owners report to us that their pets are so much different and happier once dental disease has been treated, often the pets will still eat biscuits once their mouths are healed up.

My cat/dog still eats fine and the teeth are bad, is he/she in pain?

Animals have a strong natural instinct to hide pain. By the time they stop eating,  the pain is more severe than the will to survive and eat. Normal eating is not a reliable indicator of pain. Visible signs of dental disease such as gum recession, bone loss, tooth mobility/loss, occur late in the disease process.

Is my pet "too old" for a dental procedure?

Pet are never too old to have pain and infection treated. It is important to try to prevent dental disease from developing in your pet. Brushing the teeth at hoe and having dental cleanings done when minimal tartar is present will prevent major oral surgery. Unfortunately, many pets we see have severely diseased mouths that require more advanced, and costly procedures. Feel free to discuss your pets dental condition with one of our veterinarians so we can develop a treatment and prevention plan to allow your pet to have a pain and infection free mouth.

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