YOUR PET’S DENTAL HEALTH IS VERY IMPORTANT!!
- Gum disease is usually caused by ‘plaque’ on the teeth. The plaque predisposes to tartar build-up and this material acts as a bed for bacterial infection. This infection extends under the gum-line and can lead to destruction of the bone that holds your pet’s teeth in.
- Loss of tooth support due to gum disease is the main reason that adult animals lose their teeth and suffer from horrible mouth infections that can cause considerable discomfort. Gum disease is treatable and preventable.
- If the infection in the gums goes untreated, it can lead to internal organ damage such as heart and kidney disease – and failure. When the gums are infected, your pet is swallowing bacteria constantly. Bacteria then travels in the blood to the heart and kidneys and can cause serious disease of these organs. This obviously has long-term effects on your pet’s wellbeing and longevity.
- Owners are often unaware of gum disease in their pets. Some indications of gum disease are bad breath, bleeding gums, drooling, loose teeth, reluctance to chew, receding gums and pawing at the mouth.
- Most pets will respond well to the inclusion of raw bones in the diet combined with daily brushing of the teeth if applicable. There are also special commercial diets available to maintain dental health. We will be happy to advise you on the best approach for your pet.
TREATMENT has two major aims:
- Healthy gums and jawbones – the infection is brought under control by the vet performing a thorough ultrasonic scaling and polishing of the teeth both above and below the gum line.
- Maintaining gum and jawbone health over the long term by having regular check-ups and by using a suitable method of prevention for your pet, as outlined by your vet. Note that gum disease will recur if it is allowed to!!
WHY DOES MY PET NEED AN ANAESTHETIC TO CLEAN ITS TEETH?
Plaque build-up is the underlying cause of dental disease. Plaque is composed of food particles, saliva and bacteria. This bacterial plaque sticks to the surface of the teeth and can only be removed by mechanical means (chewing raw bones or by brushing the teeth). If it is not removed, it will calcify into tartar or CALCULUS, which is hard and more difficult to remove.
The plaque causing the damage to the teeth and gums is that found UNDER the gum-line. Bacteria multiplying in the plaque invade the gums and the bone, and will eventually lead to the tooth becoming loose (as the bone of the tooth socket is “eaten” away).
When the teeth are scaled, ALL of the plaque and calculus must be removed, that which is under the gum line as well as well as that which can be seen on the teeth.
It is impossible to clean under the gum-line without the animal being under a general anaesthetic. Your pet will not sit still on the surgery table with its mouth wide open whilst we use an ultrasonic scaler under the gum and then polish its teeth.
When we perform an ultrasonic scale of the teeth, bacteria from the plaque is liberated into your pet’s blood stream. For this reason, your pet will be given an antibiotic injection at the time of the dental. After the teeth have been thoroughly cleaned and polished, your pet will be sent home with a course of antibiotic tablets to finish clearing the infection in the gums.
Please discuss strategies for the prevention of dental disease with our health care team