Dental Disease

Veterinary Dentistry

Dr Vincent Asbury BVSC Hons

As our pets age they become more susceptible to dental disease. Our pets just like us need regular brushing and I say its not possible to floss our pets teeth. There are many preventatives for dental disease which include brushings, greenies, (plant-based chews) diet (t/d diet) and raw bones, chicken necks or brisket bones. There are many diets that promote dental health and a dry food diet will help reduce dental tartar build up. Hills t/d diet however is designed to wrap around teeth and pull tartar off in the early stages. A new product call oxy fresh is a dental gel that can be rubbed over the teeth and left in the mouth, to clean by chemical reaction, to assist with cleaning of the teeth. This product can be used with brushing as well. A lot of pets cannot tolerate raw bones (never cooked) as the pets do not need to eat the bones. Instead should chew on the bones to break off the tartar.

Our pets over time will develop har tartar on the teeth. The plaque dried over the teeth and with bacterial cause a coating over the teeth. This leads to bad breath, gum recession and eventual tooth loss. Performing regular dentals is the only way to truly prevent dental disease as once tartar starts to build up a dental scale is preferential for removal. We will perform dental procedures to clean teeth and start with a blank slate for dental maintenance. Unfortunately, our pets will not sit in a chair and allow cleaning while awake. A dental procedure involves many steps to assess teeth. Clients ask for an estimate but it’s usually not until the pet is under anaesthetic the teeth can be fully assessed.

A dental procedure is commonly performed in older pets. Also, dental procedures involve a full anaesthetic to perform. Here at Pulse Vet Warner we offer blood test to assess vital organs (liver and kidneys). Their test helps determine the pets ability to tolerate anaesthesia and potentially anaesthetic agents. We also place pets on IV fluids during the procedure as they are generally long anaesthetics and fluids provide circulatory support.

A dental procedure is not a quick procedure. It involves assessment for loose teeth, cracking and ultrasonic removal of tartar, tooth removal, cleaning each tooth individually, assessing teeth vitality (possibly dental radiographs), and finally polishing of teeth. Most times you will not know whether teeth need removal until under anaesthetic.

I do not believe clients understand the amount of effort that goes into performing a dental procedure and the difficulty in predicting what will need to be done before their pet is anaesthetised. Ideally dental procedures will be discussed by your veterinarian during routine vaccinations or health check.

A dental assessment and estimate is best preformed in person with your veterinarian but with the understanding your veterinarian may not know the full extent of dental disease until your pet is anaesthetised. We all want what is best for our pet and just like us teeth are important for good general health. If you are concerned about your pets teeth, then the recommendation would be to visit your local veterinarian with your pet.

The veterinarian will be able to give an estimate but understand there will be a range due to difficulty of predicting whether teeth will need removal. Regular dental procedures from a young age will help to minimise time of dental procedure and tooth extractions.



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