Your pet has teeth just like you. And similar to you, they have dental care needs. Most dogs and cats don’t brush their teeth and therefore, as they get older, they get a build up of plaque and tartar. If this plaque and tartar isn’t removed, dental disease progresses which can lead to your pet losing teeth and having pain in the process.
Most pets do not show signs of oral pain until it has become a really big problem. Pets love to eat and will chose the softer foods or eat on one side of their mouth instead of not eating at all. It is our responsibility as owners and vets to pick up on the early stages of dental disease, before your pet stops eating altogether.
We can perform routine cleaning of the teeth under general anaestheic to try and halt dental disease and keep teeth healthy. After a routine cleaning, your pet’s mouth will be a little tender, even if no teeth were extracted.
A routine dental cleaning procedure can take quite a bit of time and can sometimes progress to something more extensive.
Pets cannot tell us if one particular tooth is sore. Sometimes a bad tooth is easy to spot but they are not always that obvious. We routinely take dental x-rays of teeth to see if the roots are healthy.
If teeth need to be removed it can also be a long process. Many of your pet’s teeth have more than one root. To remove these safely time has to be taken to divide the tooth and carefully remove the thin bone holding it in place. If this is not done correctly the teeth can break, roots can be left behind and your pet could be left in even more discomfort. The time taken to successfully remove a tooth can be anything from just a few minutes up to half an hour.
Here are some top tips for caring for your pet after a dental procedure :
Food: Soft food should be offered to your pet in the days following a dental procedure. Sensitive gums and teeth will have difficultly chewing hard kibble or treats so keep food moist and soft to ease any tenderness.
Pain Relief: Depending on the procedure done, your pet may have pain relief to take home. Please ensure your pet gets this everyday – they don’t always know how to tell us their mouth is sore.
Home Dental Care: Once your pet has recovered from a dental and their gums have healed it is time to start thinking about home care to prevent future problems. The best way to do this is by brushing your pet’s teeth.
We have attached a video of Bailey having her teeth brushed in the clinic to show you how it’s done.
You many need to start slow with the brushing as pets don’t always appreciate having a large plastic object being rubbed inside their mouth. Take it day by day and praise your pet for even the smallest bit of progress.
After a dental it is important that you can see your pet’s teeth to make sure things are healing and that no other problems occur in future. Inspecting your pet’s mouth weekly or monthly can be very helpful in showing you the progression of problems and picking up subtle issues before that start to cause pain.
You can see from our video how easy it can be to look at your pet’s teeth.
Not all pets cooperate like this so if your pet seems to really resent this being done – it might be a sign that there is something painful going on and time to book an appointment to see the vet.