More than 80% of pets have some form of dental disease by the time they are 3 years old. The first signs of dental disease is bad breath which is usually caused by periodontal disease, which is inflammation of the gums caused by build up of plaque.
Why does my pet need regular dental cleaning?
We know that oral hygiene is extremely important for the overall wellbeing in humans. This is the same for your furbabies! We brush our teeth twice daily and still visit the dentist every 6 months to get our teeth professionally cleaned.
While many people believe that bad breath is normal in pets, this is not true. Dental disease is often painful and often contribute to heart, liver and organ health problems due to the high bacteria load in their body.
It is highly recommended that pet pawrents provide dental care at home set out by your veterinarian, but we know how hard this is to do regularly. Dental treats and water additives are helpful but are not efficient in keeping plaque and tartar off your furbaby’s teeth or maintain healthy gums.
It is recommended by veterinary dentist to have their pet’s teeth cleaned once a year. Some smaller furbabies and brachycephalic breeds may require more regular cleaning while some larger dogs and breeds may only need them once every 2-3 years.
Keeping your furbabies’ teeth clean and healthy at all times does not only help protect them from dental disease and potentially losing their teeth, it also helps prolong their life as it prevents other health issues which can affect their heart, liver, kidney and other organ infections.
What are dental cleanings?
Dental cleaning is a general term that we use when we clean your furbabies teeth using state of the art dental equipment. We scale and polish their teeth, just likehow you get your teeth cleaned at your local dentist.
What happens when my pet comes in for a dental clean?
Dental cleaning is a full day procedure here at My Vet. Your pet will be admitted in the morning just like a normal surgical procedure. Once they are fully anaesthetised, a thorough oral examination will be performed. Dental xrays are taken to fully assess each tooth (because this helps us see what is happening under the gum lines) and the teeth are scaled and polish. Each tooth will then be probed and assessed meticulously to ensure that they are healthy and viable. Any rotten, fractured or diseased tooth will be removed with careful planning which involves local anaesthetic and pain management plan post dental surgery.
What causes dental disease?
Dental disease, or better known as periodontal disease, is the inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the tooth/teeth due to the accumulation of plaque. Plaque is the furry feeling on your teeth when you haven’t brushed them and it is made up of food particles, salive and bacteria. If the build up is not removed, it can lead to gingivitis and destruction of the supportive tissues of the teeth including the gums and bone. This often results in bad breath, teeth pain and in severe cases, loss of teeth.
Dental disease is very painful (think of that time when you have a tooth ache) but pets are good at hiding their pain and won’t tell us when they are in pain. Keep in mind, dental disease is preventable with good dental hygiene and care.
What are the signs of dental disease?
- Bad breath
- Discolouration/build up of plaque and tartar on teeth
- Hypersalivation or abnormal chewing
- Bleeding from the mouth after chewing
- Swelling around the mouth or even under the eye socket
- Pawing at the mouth
- Redness/inflammation of the gum
- Difficulty eating or loss of appetite
Why does my pet need dental extractions?
There are a few reasons why your pet may need dental extractions. These include:
- Fractured teeth
- Loose tooth –caused by severe bone loss surrounding the tooth
- Retained baby teeth
- Tooth root abscess
- Malocclusion of the teeth
- Oral tumours
How can I prevent my pet from getting dental disease?
If you can control the plaque, you can control dental disease in pets! Removing plaque from your pet’s teeth comes down to 2 basic mechanism: Chemical and Mechanical control. A combination of both methods is the best way in plaque control.
Mechanical control involves the removal of plaque physically –brushing and chewing! We recommend pet pawparents to brush their pet’s teeth on a daily basis. Nothing beats brushing because the bristles are able to remove the plaque from under the gumlines.
Chemical control involves water or food additives to help kill and reduce the formation of plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth.
Dental disease is very painful (think of that time when you have a toothache), but pets are good at hiding their pain and won’t tell us when they are in pain. Keep in mind, dental disease is preventable with good dental hygiene and care.
Why do we need dental xrays?
Remember that dental disease happens along the gumlines and below the gumlines. Furthermore, 2/3 of the tooth sits under the gumline, so by performing dental xrays, we are able visualise what is going on under the gumlines. Dental radiographs can also reveal disease such as dental abscesses, bone loss, fractured tooth and many more.