We routinely assess your pet’s dental health at every regular physical examination. Dental disease is the most common problem that we see in veterinary medicine. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by the time they are three years of age.
Signs of dental problems include bad breath, red and swollen gums, a yellow or brown tartar buildup around the gums, broken or worn teeth, or masses or swellings along the gums. Any of these problems need to be addressed before they cause permanent damage.
Most people do not realize that their pet may be in a great deal of discomfort due to chronic dental disease. Over thousand of years of evolution, our pets have learned to “keep their mouths shut” when it comes to expressing chronic pain — in the wild, an animal that is obviously ill or hurting would likely be a target for predators, or would be taken advantage of by members of it’s own pack. For these reasons, our pets are very stoic when it comes to dental pain. They do have the same anatomy and physiology as humans, however, and so we know that the equivalent problems in people would send us off to our own dentist, pronto.
Through regular dental cleanings and homecare, we can avoid these problems in our pets before it is too late. In the past, veterinarians too often have waited until the teeth have become significantly diseased before recommending a “cleaning”, but by this time, irreversible damage has been done. Our goal is to prevent these problems from ever happening through good, regular dental care. For most pets, that means an annual professional dental cleaning.
Although an initial assessment can be given in the examination room, we will often not know exactly what dental procedures need to be performed until we have examined each tooth in detail under a general anaesthetic, and have taken dental Xrays. For this reason, we ask that you book a dental procedure on a day that you can be reached by phone, should we find unexpected problems that need to be addressed.