Did you know that up to 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will suffer from some form of dental disease by the time they are three??
Dental disease begins with a build up of bacteria, food scraps and saliva leading to the formation of plaque. Plaque sticks to the tooth under the gum line and on the visible surface on the tooth. Over time this hardens forming tartar. Tartar is the yellow-brown material you can see on the tooth. As time passes the bacteria in the tartar results in irreversible changes.
The same bacteria that causes irreversible changes (wobbly teeth, bad breath, red inflamed gums) is also a source of infection that affects major organs in the body (including kidney, liver and heart) which can make your pet seriously ill. The effects of dental disease has great potential to shorten you animal's life.
What if my pet has dental disease?
If you think your pet has dental disease, the first thing you should do is contact us to make an appointment to see one of our veterinarians. We routinely check your pet's mouth as part of an annual health check but this doesn't mean we cannot check them between annual checks. If required, we will recommend booking in for an general anaesthetic and dental.
It is important to realise that we cannot fully assess the severity of dental disease in a conscious animal. General anaesthesia makes a full dental examination, pain and stress free and allows us to treat any dental disease. This may include removal of diseased teeth (and placement of dissolvable sutures if required) and ultrasonic scaling and cleaning of teeth followed by a nice polish with a special animal paste. Because your pet is asleep we can also remove the bacteria, plaque and tartar from under the gum line. Throughout this process we chart any changes we have found in your pets mouth and any teeth we have removed.
Once all dental work is completed, your pet may be given an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory injection, the anaesthetic gas is turned off, and your pet is allowed to wake up. Pets are generally able to go home on the same day. If the dental disease was severe, your pet will be sent home with additional medication.
Following a professional dental clean, we will work with you to form an ongoing plan. This may involve regular tooth brushing, feeding raw meaty bones and/or a special diet. It is recommended that all pets be examined 6 months after dental cleaning to determine the effectiveness of your dental care routine.
How can I minimise ongoing dental disease?
What does a professional dental clean involve?
It is the same as a scale and polish done by a dentist for us. However, unlike us, our pets won’t sit still or open their mouth to allow a comprehensive cleaning of their teeth. For this reason our pets need to have a general anaesthetic for a professional dental clean. Your pet will need to be assessed by one of our veterinarians. The degree of dental disease will be assessed to determine if extractions, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories will be required.
The assessment may also include a physical exam, blood tests and urine tests to ensure they are healthy prior to having an anaesthetic. Once anaesthetised, we can give the teeth a thorough cleaning using our specialised dental equipment. When your pet goes home we will also discuss methods of reducing dental disease in the future.