At some point in your pet’s life, it will probably need some degree of dental care. Just like people, pets need their teeth examined annually and if there is calculus or gingivitis, we may recommend a dental clean. This will normally be done as a day procedure, with your pet dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon.
If your pet needs its teeth cleaned or other dental work is required, we will need to do the procedure under anaesthesia. This is to allow us to do a thorough job, as the most important part of the tooth for us to clean is under the gum-line, which we can’t do while an animal is awake. It is also for our safety as some of the procedures may be uncomfortable if done conscious and we don’t want to risk being bitten.
We use very similar equipment to human dentists, including ultrasonic scalers, pneumatic drills and a wide range of hand scalers and elevators.
Once the animal is under anaesthetic, we will chart the teeth, remove any calculus and plaque from the teeth, and assess if any teeth may need removal. If the structure of the tooth is damaged, or if the roots and sensitive nerves are exposed we may need to remove the tooth.
Before we remove teeth, we will normally place some local anaesthetic around the nerves to the mouth so we can keep the anaesthetic as light as possible and allow the pet to have minimal pain when it wakes up from the anaesthetic.
In dogs and cats, teeth have different numbers of roots. Incisors (the small teeth at the front) only have a single root, while the large bone shearing carnassial teeth of dogs have three roots and may need to be cut into several pieces to remove them safely. We may then close the sockets with dissolvable sutures or leave it to close itself.
The final stage of the dental procedure is polishing the teeth. We use a special compressed-air driven polishing piece to ensure the teeth are completely free of calculus.
Antibiotics, pain relief and a diet of soft and chunky food may be needed until the extraction sites have healed, which normally only takes a week or so.
Ongoing dental care is then important, which may involve regular tooth brushing or specially designed “Dental” biscuits such as the Royal Canin Dental Range.
August is Pet Dental Month at the Bunbury and Eaton Vet Clinics, so take advantage of our $20 discount on Dental Checks with our Vets this month. Just ask for a Dental Check when you make your appointment.