Dental disease is the most common disease seen in small animal veterinary practices – 80% of pets . It is caused by inflammation and subsequent destruction of the tooth and its supporting structures resulting in sensitivity and pain.
Unlike humans, our pets require a full general anaesthetic to enable our vets to carry out dental procedures. Dental procedures are usually limited to removing tartar (‘descaling’) & polishing teeth and extractions. If extractions are required, it is often difficult to accurately assess the exact number of teeth that may need removal until a full assessment is made under general anaesthesia: extraction of a tooth is only performed where absolutely necessary. More complex dental procedures can be carried out by our consultant dentist.
Once asleep we perform a clinical assessment of the teeth and oral cavity:
1. we use a measuring probe (see above) to check for inflamed & bleeding gums, pockets, gum recession, holes in the teeth and fractured teeth.
2. at Woodcroft Vets we have invested in a separate dental radiography unit – although commonplace when we visit out own dentist, this is not a routine procedure carried out at most veterinary practices. Our vets at Cheadle & Handforth have found dental radiography to be a useful aid in identifying diseased and painful teeth that were not immediately obvious when assessed with standard probing techniques. Subsequent treatments, based on the results of dental radiography (see above), have lead to improved patient care. Although a small additional fee is charged, we feel the benefit of the additional information gathered from dental radiography outweighs the cost.
Dogs and cats have many teeth of differing shapes and sizes and some can be harder to extract than others. Teeth are extracted by either ‘closed’ or ‘surgical’ extraction techniques depending on their size and the number of roots they have. Dental radiography can really help with surgical planning.
Pain relief injections are given at the time of dental surgery and this pain relief is often extended into the post operative period with a short course of oral anti-inflammatory medications to be administered at home. In some cases, antibiotics are also prescribed if infection is present. A follow up consultation is provided with a nurse 5-7 days after the procedure to ensure all is going well with your pet and his or her new smile!
If you have any questions about your pet’s teeth or you would simply like more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our dental leaflet is also available to download. Alternatively, Pet Club members are able to access our free nursing clinics – why not book an appointment with one of our qualified nurses? If allowed to by your pet, our nurses will be able to assess your pet’s mouth and decide if a full veterinary assessment is justified. If no treatment is necessary, our nurses can advise on the best home care treatment options to prevent dental disease in the future.