Dental disease is a serious and very common issue in many of our pets. If, after a consultation, one of our vets has identified that your pet has dental disease, it may be recommended that your pet has a professional dental scale and polish under general anaesthesia.
General anaesthesia allows us to perform a very detailed examination of your pet’s mouth and teeth (much more so than a conscious animal will allow). This process involves charting all teeth and evaluating their condition, including the degree of tartar, gingivitis (gum inflammation) and any pockets in the gums around the teeth.
Our veterinarians will then remove the tartar above and below the gumline using a special ultrasonic scaler, just like a dentist uses for our teeth. The teeth are then polished using a dental polisher and specialised fine-grade paste. If the dental disease is not severe, the procedure will end here. However, if certain teeth are severely affected and examination indicates there may be disease affecting the roots of the teeth, dental radiographs (x-rays) will be taken to help us determine whether tooth extraction will be necessary. If dental x-rays indicate the tooth is diseased beyond repair, then the best course of action is to extract the tooth – this is done with a combination of hand instruments and high speed drills, and in some cases requires gum surgery that will be closed with dissolvable stitches.
Following a professional dental clean, a plan needs to be implemented to minimise build up of tartar again, and will depend on the severity of your pet’s dental disease. This may involve regular tooth brushing, feeding a special diet and dental chews, and oral washes or water additives. It is recommended that all pets be examined 6 months after dental cleaning to determine the effectiveness of your dental care routine.
We are now excited to be able to offer dental restorations (or “fillings”) for your pet! When a tooth is damaged (e.g. broken or chipped) or has a hole in it, it can cause sensitivity and pain, and can also weaken the tooth making it prone to infection. Now instead of extracting these teeth – particularly important for big teeth like the canine and the carnassial teeth – we can repair them, similar to what we do in humans!