Dental disease in our pets is similar to dental disease in humans – it starts with a
buildup of bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria combine with saliva and food particles
to form plaque on the teeth.
If this plaque is not removed with regular brushing or chewing, it goes on to form
calculus (or tartar) which can be seen as yellow-brown staining near the gum line. The
calculus provides a great breeding ground for bacteria which invade under the gum line,
causing gum disease (gingivitis).
Warning signs of unhealthy teeth can include:
Red and swollen gums
Yellow-brown discolouration near the gum line
Pain or bleeding when eating
Loose or missing teeth
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If your pet is showing any signs of dental disease, it may mean they have dental disease which can lead to dangerous infections. If left untreated, the bacterial infection can destroy the bony tooth roots (causing the teeth to fall out) and get into the blood stream which can affect important internal organs such as the heart and kidneys.
Due to improvements in diets and veterinary care, our pets are living longer. This means their teeth need to last longer too as (like us) they only get one set of teeth to last a lifetime. So again like us, regular oral care and checkups are important for your pet.
Dental problems in animals may be caused by poor oral hygiene, unsuitable food, breed factors (same number of teeth squashed in to a shorter snout) and the age of your pet. Some of the ways to prevent teeth problems include brushing your pet’s teeth, giving chew toys or raw bones and regular dental checkups.
Dental checkups are included in your pet’s annual health check and vaccination, but if your pet hasn’t had an annual health check in a while or is showing any of the signs discussed above, please make an appointment for a dental check.
We can help you work out the best options for your pet. Some cases of dental disease in pets can be managed by changing the diet, but others may require professional cleaning of the plaque and calculus. We do this cleaning under general anaesthetic as we have to clean the plaque both above and below the gum line to prevent further gum disease.
The teeth cleaning we do is the same as at your dentist – cleaning, ultrasonic scaling and polishing so your pet will have that fresh mouth feel (and smell)! If the dental disease has affected the tooth roots, we may need to extract some teeth and your pet may also need antibiotics.