Dentistry is a rapidly growing area of veterinary science. We now have a greater awareness of the importance of good dental health to the overall health of our pets.
Just like humans, our pets also need dental care! The health of their teeth and gums has a significant impact on their overall quality of life. Imagine how your mouth would feel, and smell, if you never brushed your teeth. Imagine having a really bad toothache and not being able to tell anyone about it!
Dental disease begins with a build up of bacteria in your pet’s mouth. Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris, can cause plaque to accumulate on the tooth. As calcium salts are deposited, plaque turns to tartar (brown or yellow material starting near the gum line of the tooth).
Without proper preventive or therapeutic care, plaque and tartar build-up leads to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can cause oral pain, tooth loss and even heart or kidney problems.
Common signs of dental disease, in order of severity, include:
Inflamed, red gums
Yellow brown tartar along the gumline
Change in eating or chewing habits (especially in cats)
Pawing at the face or mouth
Pain or bleeding when you touch the gums or mouth
If your pet is showing signs of dental disease, please book an appointment to see one of our veterinarians. Early assessment and action can save your pet's teeth.
How can I prevent dental disease?
Long-term control and prevention of dental disease requires regular home care. The best way to begin this is to accustom your pet from an early age. Dental home care may include:
Use dental toys, enzymatic chews, or teeth cleaning biscuits, all of which may help keep the teeth clean.
Even when every care is taken to maintain healthy teeth and gums it is still very common for dogs and cats to require a veterinary teeth cleaning under general anaesthetic. This may first be required from 3 to 7 years of age and in some cases need to be repeated every 2 to 3 years. Your vet will check your pet's teeth during their yearly vaccination and check up and will advise if this cleaning procedure would be beneficial.
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's teeth will be assessed by one of our veterinarians, to determine the degree of dental disease and whether extractions, antibiotics and pain relief will be required. The assessment may also include a physical exam, blood testing and urine testing 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.
The basic clean and polish under anaesthetic (without extractions) costs $250.
If you have any questions about dental care or professional cleaning please do not hesitate to contact us.