What is tartar and gingivitis?
Tartar, or dental calculus, is the build-up of food, bacteria and other residues on your pet’s teeth that lead to gingivitis, infection of the gum.
Can dirty teeth be harmful to my pet?
Dirty teeth will cause bad breath, eventual rotting and loss of teeth due to infection, and may even lead to systemic infections in your pet due to bacteria entering the bloodstream. Heart disease and kidney disease are very common as a result of “dirty” teeth.
What happens when my pet ‘Has a Dental’?
Your pet will require an anaesthetic to do a thorough job since your pet will not “open wide” or sit still! A Pre Anaesthetic blood test is recommended to assist in assessing the general health of your patient. In some cases intravenous fluids are recommended, depending on physical condition, age and the length of the anaesthetic. The part of the tooth under the gum line must be cleaned, as well as the exposed portion. This is done with hand instruments as well as ultrasonic cleaning equipment. Necessary extractions are performed. The teeth are polished after scaling to “smooth down” the surfaces, making them more resistant to additional plaque formation.
What is expected of me?
Your pet should have no food after dinner the night before scheduled dentistry. We request that you bring your pet in between 8:00am and 8:30 am. Our aim is to send animals home the same day as the dentistry.
What about extractions?
Only the veterinarian can determine which teeth should be extracted, and which teeth can be saved. This is often impossible to determine until the pet is under the anaesthetic, due to pain in the gum area, difficulty in examination of the mouth, and overlying plaque and tartar. Teeth will be extracted if they are loose, fractured, infected or have holes in them. If necessary local anaesthetic and additional pain relief will be used to ensure your pet’s comfort.
What about antibiotics?
Antibiotics are usually required in veterinary dentistry because teeth cleaning is not usually requested until tooth and gum disease is already present and your pet’s mouth is infected. Be sure to continue any medication prescribed until the course is finished.
What can I do at home after cleaning?
Usually it is best to start oral home care as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will advise you what is best for your pet and may discuss the following – daily cleaning with pet designed products, feeding specifically designed dental foods, the use of additives to water etc.