Dental disease is one of the most common but preventable diseases in pets. Early management of dental disease is important as unhealthy teeth are not only painful but can also lead to other health problems such as kidney disease and heart disease. The longer dental disease is left untreated, the more complicated the cleaning procedure is and the more likely it is that your pet will require teeth to be removed. This results in a longer anaesthetic, a more invasive treatment for your pet and a higher cost for you, so it is best to see us as early as possible.
Dental disease is caused by a bacterial infection that builds up in a substance called plaque. Plaque is made up of food particles and saliva. It sticks to the tooth surface above and below the gum line and if not removed, will calcify into tartar (or calculus). Over time the bacterial infection in tartar causes irreversible changes to occur. These include the destruction of supportive tissues and bone, resulting in red gums, bad breath and loosening of teeth.
Good oral hygiene is the most effective way of preventing dental disease. This can involve dental chews, water additives, teeth brushing or a special dental diet. During your dental or regular health check-up, our team will be able to offer recommendations on how to keep your pet’s pearly whites shining. Just like us though even the best oral hygiene doesn’t always negate the need for a trip to the dentist so don’t feel bad if we recommend your pet has a dental scale and polish in clinic, it is all part of ongoing dental management and keeping your pet healthy.
It is important to keep an eye on your pet’s teeth, and gums, as dental disease can progress rapidly if left untreated. Common signs of dental disease include:
- Bad breath
- Painful mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Bleeding or receding gums
- Discoloured teeth
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty chewing
If your pet develops dental disease, our team will be able to discuss the most appropriate treatment options with you. This may involve teeth cleaning or removal.
If your pet is showing any signs of dental disease or has never had a dental check-up before, book an appointment with one of our vets by calling us on 02 6281 0990