Looking after your pet’s teeth is very important for their health and well-being. Here at Morningside Vet Clinic, we believe prevention is better than a cure, which is why we offer FREE DENTAL CHECKS with our experienced nurses. We understand that some pets aren’t the easiest at allowing you to look in their mouth, but, even if you do get a look, would you know what to look for? Here are some of the most common signs of dental disease:
• Bad breath
• Pawing at the mouth
• Red/pink coloured saliva
• Increase in saliva
• Pain or reluctance when eating
• Red inflamed gums
• Brown/yellow tartar forming on the teeth
• Loose teeth or teeth falling out
Maintenance dental treatment is essential for every pet; it can include brushing, mouthwashes and special diets. Ideally, most maintenance dental care should be performed 2-3 times a week, to prevent any tartar build up on the teeth. Sometimes just changing to a diet specially formulated to keep plaque at bay would suffice, but this is generally best when used in conjunction with other preventative care. So there are options for what would best suit your lifestyle with your pet. Unfortunately, if your pet already has tartar built up on their teeth these preventative treatments will not resolve the tartar, making a dental procedure the only option. Dental maintenance should begin at a young age or straight after surgical dental work.
For more information on prevention of dental disease, follow this link:
What happens during a dental?
Once you have been in for your pet’s teeth check and have booked in for a dental procedure you may wonder what happens. A routine dental procedure can mean anything from just a scale and polish, like we might routinely have, to a full mouth extraction. As you can imagine pets are not as patient as us and will not sit back in a chair with their mouths open and let us just scale and polish their teeth, inject local anaesthetic and let us take teeth out. So needless to say every dental requires general anaesthesia to enable us to perform the procedure. If we need to take extractions we still use local anaesthesia to make it more comfortable for your pet. If you would like to find out more about our general anesthesia procedure please check out our surgical procedures tab. Once the animal is asleep we can fully examine the teeth one side at a time, we crack any plaque off the teeth using forceps and then use an ultrasonic scaler to clean the rest of the tartar from the teeth. Depending on the plaque build up on the teeth we can often not tell the full extent of the damage to the teeth until this is removed. After all teeth have been cleaned to the highest standard we then use a polishing cup to polish both sides of the teeth to give them a lasting finish.
As you may understand from having your own dental work done, not everything can been seen from the surface. The roots that are deep inside the gum line can be diseased, but this can only be determined by doing x-rays of the teeth. This is done once the pet is anaesthetised as we put a plate inside their mouths to get the digital image. This can identify a variety of issues that may not have been detected without a radiograph.
As discussed previously once we have examined the teeth, extractions may be required. If this is the case the veterinary surgeon will then inject local anesthesia in to area where the extraction/s will take place. They then proceed with extracting the tooth, which depending on the size of the tooth can be very simple to complex. The difficulty of the extraction is usually gauged by the number of roots a tooth has. A tooth at the front of the mouth, for example an incisor, just has one small root which means it can usually be removed quite easily. However, a tooth towards the back of the mouth, a Molar for example, can have 3 roots and we have to cut the tooth in sections to be able to extract it which can obviously be time consuming. There is one main exception to this rule which is the canines, the big fang teeth. They have very very long deep roots, which can take a long time to extract. The hole that’s left behind after a tooth extraction will be assessed to see if it needs stitches.
The main dental procedure we do would be extractions, which sometimes need stitches. But in some cases where teeth are really diseased and infection has set in there is abscess’ that can form at the tooth’s root causing swelling on the face and pain for your pet. There are many other surgical procedures that can be undertaken such as root canals and malocclusion correction surgeries which are performed by dental specialists – Advanced Animal Dentistry.