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.
Our nurses will be able to collect information about your pet’s current diet and eating habits, as well as your current dental care at home. They will have a look at your pet’s teeth and gums and grade their teeth from 0-4 depending on the severity of dental disease (0 being the lowest). Our nurses will then be able to create an estimate for a dental procedure if needed, create dental check reminders or assist with a home care plan that suits you and your pet.
Some Signs of Dental Problems Include:
Bad breath (Halitosis)
Pawing at the mouth
Red/pink coloured saliva
Pain or reluctance when eating
Red inflamed gums
Brown/yellow tartar forming on the teeth
Loose teeth or teeth falling out
What Happens During a Cleaning?
Routine dental care ranges from a maintenance scale and polish to a full mouth extraction. A full general anesthetic is required to evaluate and perform the dental procedure to the best possible standards. If you would like to find out more about our general anesthesia protocol please see our surgical procedures tab. Once your pet is asleep we can fully examine and chart the teeth one side at a time. We use an ultrasonic scaler to clean tartar and plaque from the teeth and a polishing cup to polish both sides of the teeth to give them a lasting finish. Surgical extractions are performed using regional anesthetic blocks to further assist pain control. All of our vets have undergone ongoing training on the latest techniques on surgical extractions, and are more than happy to discuss this in more detail upon request.
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.
Extractions and Surgery
As discussed previously once we have examined the teeth, extractions may be required. Dental extractions vary depending on the size, disease and location of the tooth. 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 be time consuming. There is one main exception to this rule which is the canines, the big fang teeth. They have 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, in which case absorbable suture materials are used.
Prevention: The Best Medicine
Maintenance dental treatment is essential for every pet; it can include brushing, dental chews, mouthwashes/wipes and special diets. Ideally, most maintenance dental care should be performed daily, to prevent any tartar build up on the teeth. Often 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. There are many options for what would best suit you and your lifestyle with your pet, feel free to come in for a free dental check with our nurses for more information on this.
Most dental maintenance products work best by preventing or delaying plaque build up, and is found to be most effective after a dental procedure or from a young age.