Dental health is extremely important in our pets. The health of their teeth and gums has a significant impact on their overall quality of life. Imagine how your mouth would feel, and smell, if you never brushed your teeth. Imagine having a really bad toothache and not being able to tell anyone about it!
Dental disease begins with a build-up of bacteria in your pet’s mouth. Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris, can cause plaque to accumulate on the tooth. Without proper preventive or therapeutic care, plaque and tartar build-up leads to periodontal disease, which affects the gums and roots of the teeth and can lead to oral pain, tooth loss and even heart or kidney problems.
Common signs of dental disease, in order of severity, include:
- Yellow-brown tartar around the gumline
- Inflamed, red gums
- Bad breath
- Change in eating or chewing habits (especially in cats)
- Pawing at the face or mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Pain or bleeding when you touch the gums or mouth
Early assessment and action can save your pet’s teeth! Please book an appointment to see one of our veterinarians on 03 9877 3999.
A brief consultation is enough for the vet to assess your pet’s dental health, and make recommendations for home care actions that can help maintain dental health, or a full dental examination and professional scale and polish under general anaesthesia if indicated. If your pet is found to have symptoms of dental disease we offer dental surgery services to address the problem.
What does a professional dental clean involve?
It is the same as a scale and polish done by a dentist for us. However, unlike us, our pets won’t sit still or open their mouth to allow a thorough cleaning of their teeth. For this reason our pets need to have a general anaesthetic for a professional dental clean. The degree of dental disease will be fully assessed, with dental radiographs (x-rays) taken of diseased teeth to determine if extractions, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories will be required.
Home care to maintain dental health
Long-term control and prevention of dental disease requires regular home care. The best way to begin this is to accustom your pet from an early age. Dental home care may include:
- Brushing teeth daily – just like us! This is the best form of dental hygiene. Pet toothbrushes and toothpaste are now available. Please do not use human toothpaste formulas on your pet as they are not designed to be swallowed and may be toxic.
- Feed pets regluar dental chews and special dental diets. This can help reduce the accumulation of tartar.
- Use oral washes and water additives to help reduce the plaque-forming bacteria in the mouth.
Regular and frequent attention to your pet’s teeth may avoid the need for a professional dental clean under anaesthetic, and will also improve your pet’s overall health.
If you have any questions about dental care or professional cleaning please do not hesitate to contact us on 03 9877 3999.