Dental health problems are extremely common in dogs, cats and rabbits, and pets are surprisingly good at hiding their discomfort. Plaque and tartar build-up can lead to dental decay, foul-smelling breath and have a huge impact on your pets’ general health. So it is our responsibility as veterinary professionals and owners to stay vigilant on pet dental health on their behalf. Our vets examine teeth, mouth and gums at every appointment as part of their routine physical examination. They will offer advice on preventative care and might recommend a dental procedure to improve the health of a pet’s mouth.
It is not uncommon for vets to recommend a scale and polish even when they don’t feel extractions are likely to be required. Plaque (bacteria of the mouth), that hardens to form tartar often develops beyond what can be corrected by tooth brushing or other preventative methods alone.
A scale and polish will require a general anaesthetic; however when you consider that poor dental health is related to chronic pain, weight loss and is even linked to heart disease, increasingly owners are taking this opportunity to help ensure their pet eats and lives comfortably. A dental is a day procedure which involves a general anaesthetic to allow a full examination of the mouth and teeth, and to ensure absolutely no discomfort to your pet. If your pet is older, we may discuss running an in-house blood test prior to the general anaesthetic.
During the dental, the enamel surface of the teeth will be descaled of any plaque or tartar build up and the surface will be polished. Any damaged teeth will be assessed and it will be decided if any extractions are required. Our team of vets are supported by skilled and experienced veterinary nurses who monitor a patient very closely, using technology that helps them to deliver just the amount of anaesthesia required.
The gums are normally a little sensitive after a dental but this is completely normal. Your pet will get a pain relief injection if the gums are inflamed, and we advise feeding a soft food diet for a few days. Depending on the individual case, we may advise a tooth paste or use of an oral hygiene gel after the procedure to help prevent further build-up of plaque and tartar or a prescription diet where indicated.