Dentistry

Dental Disease

ennis-vet-clinic-dentistryStudies indicate that 70% of cats and 80% of dogs over 2years of age have signs of dental disease.

Dental disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque, a soft and sticky deposit that is continually forming on your pets’ teeth. If plaque is not removed daily then it begins to harden into a substance called tartar.

How does tartar affect my pet’s oral health?

Tartar builds up under the gum line as well as below it. Tartar is visible as a yellow to brown material on the tooth surface, usually near the gum, or gingival line. If you notice that your cat or dog has yellow teeth, we recommend that you bring your pet to us for a free of charge dental health check as this early visible symptom could lead to more severe and painful dental conditions.

Continual tartar accumulation causes inflammation and infection of the gums (gingivitis) and eventually recession of the gum tissue and bone, which loosens the teeth. Severe gum recession causes pockets of inflammation deep under the visible gum line, which can expose tooth roots and lead to abscess formation.

Other risks associated with dental disease

Even in mild cases, your pets’ breath may become foul smelling and the mouth can be a dangerous source of infection affecting your pet’s health.

It is currently thought that some of the internal diseases of mature dogs and cats are the result of diseased teeth and gums. The theory is that bacteria can travel through the blood stream to vital organs like the heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys.

Treatment

Professional treatment consists of a complete dental cleaning under anesthesia, antibiotics and removal of severely damaged teeth or abscessed tissue. We understand that a dental treatment under anaesthesia can be a frightening prospect for both you and your pet. We adhere to the highest standards of practice to ensure that your pet is safe in our care while undergoing this necessary procedure.

In fact, we use many of the same safety measures as human hospitals. Performing most of the pre‐surgery blood work in our in-house laboratory, we are able to make sure your pet is healthy enough for the procedure.

We use a gold standard anaesthesia protocol, including pre-operative pain relief and gaseous anaesthesia. Our qualified veterinary nurse will track your pet’s vital signs throughout the anaesthetic and ensure a smooth and comfortable recovery once the procedure is over.

Many owners have reported to us that their pet is ‘like a new animal’ after a professional dental treatment. This is because animals do not readily show pain like humans do and they will endure ongoing chronic discomfort in their mouth without it affecting their appetite or behavior.

Prevention Tips

Good home dental care, including tooth brushing, dental health diets and other dental products can reduce tartar formation and gum disease.

  • Tooth Brushing: Since regular brushing is the most important thing you can do to prevent dental disease, we recommend brushing your dog or cat’s teeth as early in life as possible, ideally at a minimum of three times per week.
  • Diet-Based Therapies: These are diets specifically designed to help improve oral health and slow the buildup of calculus and tartar. We recommend Hill’s Vet Essentials. This diet has a unique fibre formulation and the biscuits will gently scrub away bacteria laden plaque and tartar.
  • Dental Products and Treats: Biscuits and other hard dental treats can help control calculus accumulation in dogs and cats alike. They tend to be less effective at cleaning right up to the gum line and therefore we would not recommend that you rely soly on these for dental disease prevention.
  • Dental check-ups: While dental diets and products combined with regular tooth brushing offer a strong foundation for at-home care, we recommend free of charge dental check-ups every 6 months to develop a dental care routine based on your pet’s unique needs.