It is generally recognised that many cats and dogs over three years old will have some dental disease.
Over time, debris, bacteria and inflammatory cells build up on the teeth to form plaque which, if not removed, will become mineralised to the hardened substance known as tartar.
Tartar can in turn cause inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis, and may lead to periodontitis which can cause loosening of the teeth in their sockets.
Ultimately dental disease can leave pets with sore, smelly and painful mouths, and cause them to be unwell.
Cats are also prone to a separate process called tooth resorption, a progressive condition in which the dentin of a tooth erodes and becomes irreparably destroyed.
Signs of tooth resorption can include pain, jaw trembling, increased salivation and difficulty eating. However these signs are only seen with advanced disease. Early disease can be detected with dental x-rays, with which both of our sites are equipped.
Once a vet has examined your pet and recommended a dental, it can be booked in for a dental procedure under a general anaesthetic.
Dental procedures are always performed under general anaesthetic in order to secure the airway and minimise stress to your pet. Even many very senior pets can safely undergo dentistry with appropriate preanesthetic testing and anaesthetic monitoring.
During a dental procedure, the tartar will be gently removed from the surfaces of the teeth with special instruments and an ultrasonic descaler.
The teeth will be checked for chips, areas of damage and for security within their sockets. They will then be polished to smooth any microscopic scratches that are left in the surface of the enamel, and help to slow down the future accumulation of plaque and tartar.
Dental examination findings and any dental work performed will be recorded on a chart and attached to the patient’s clinical records. Depending on the procedure, your pet may also be given extra pain relief and/or a course of antibiotics.
When your pet has recovered from the anaesthetic, a nurse will discharge your pet and book a follow-up appointment, usually about a week later to ensure that the mouth is comfortable, that your pet is eating normally and that any extraction sites have properly healed. This is also when you will be given advice on home dental care.
It is known that plaque can start to build up on the tooth surfaces very quickly even after a dental has been performed, and tooth brushing is the most effective way of minimising the accumulation of dental deposits.
Pets should be introduced to this process slowly, using a soft toothbrush, and toothpaste formulated especially for pets.
The toothbrush should be used in a gentle circular motion around the area where the tooth meets the gum.
To supplement home dental care regimes, there are specialised veterinary diets, chews, pastes, gels and granules available to buy from us – all of which help to decrease the accumulation of plaque on the teeth and reduce the need for future dental care under anaesthetic.
Contact the team for more information on what products are best to keep your pet’s oral health in top shape, and how to use them.