Dental Advice

Advice on keeping your pet's teeth clean

Our aim is to promote awareness of the importance of Veterinary Dentistry. Dental disease doesn't just mean smelly breath - it is a whole body disease. Infection can spread to affect the kidneys, heart valves and other areas.

Our surgeries are equipped with state of the art dental facilities, with dental X-ray machines as well as high and low speed burrs, polishers, suction and ultrasonic descalers. This enable us to provide the best quality dental care.

Is my pet suffering from dental problems?

More than 85 percent of dogs and cats over four-years-old have some form of periodontal disease. Senior dogs, those 7-years-old and up, are especially susceptible to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a painful inflammatory condition in which bacteria attacks the gums, ligaments and bone tissue that surround and support the teeth. If left unchecked, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs, starting infections there and seriously compromising the health of your pet. That's why it is important to have your pet's teeth examined by your vet on a routine basis.

Warning Signs:

  • Bad breath is one of the first signs
  • The yellowish-brown crust development of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
  • Diseased gums appear red, swollen and may bleed easily
  • Pain or bleeding when your pet eats
  • Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Many pets suffer in silence with dental disease, while some show pain and appear depressed

If warning signs are present, your pet needs veterinary attention.

How to brush your pet's teeth

  • The first step in beginning a home dental care programme for your pet is to select a quiet, convenient time when you and your pet are both relaxed. After the evening meal is a good time for most people.
  • For the first few days, simply hold your pet in a way that is comfortable for both of you - either in your lap, or by your side - and gently stroke the outside of the cheeks with your finger for a few minutes.
  • After your pet becomes comfortable with the routine, place a small amount of CET toothpaste on your finger and let him/her sample the flavour. Pets usually like the taste of this paste and will soon consider it a treat.
  • Place a small amount of the toothpaste on the toothbrush and offer it to your pet as a lick. This gets your pet accustomed to the feel of the brush and helps assure acceptance of the brushing that will follow.
  • When you feel that your pet is comfortable with the procedure, begin the brushing by gently raising the upper lip and brushing one or two teeth in a slow, gentle, circular motion. Brush only a few teeth the first time and don't forget to give your pet a lot of praise and reassurance.
  • Gradually increase the number of teeth that you brush each day until the entire mouth is being brushed. You need only brush the outside edge of the teeth, so do not even need to open your pet's mouth.
  • It is most important to go slowly - especially if brushing is a new experience for your pet. Be patient, proceed gently and always use plenty of petting and praise.
  • Soon, both you and your pet will look forward to the time you spend together during this important health care procedure.
  • Always use a toothpaste that is especially formulated for your pet. Your family toothpaste can upset your pet's stomach and cause foaming. Also, the high level of sodium in baking soda can cause problems for some animals, especially those with a heart condition.
  • If your pet struggles a lot, you might need some help getting started. One restraining method that works is to wrap your pet in a towel or small blanket with just the head protruding. You are in much better control with the legs confined this way.

Dental Supplements

Dental Hygiene Chews

  • These chews are available for dogs and regular use can reduce tartar formation by 40%.
  • Some of these specialised chews contain enzymes to reduce plaque forming bacteria.
  • Their abrasive action cuts down on food deposits on the teeth.

Enzymatic Toothpaste

  • We advise CET enzymatic toothpaste as it's best for your pet.
  • It is flavoured, so most animals, especially cats, will be happy to accept this method!
  • Brushing your dogs teeth daily is the best way to maintain healthy teeth and gums and fresh breath! This is a paste for dogs and cats which has special enzymes in it which inhibit the bacteria responsible for plaque formation.

Hills T/D Diet

  • It is a dry diet, with a larger kibble size than normal dry diets.
  • This is a diet for cats and dogs which is especially formulated to clean the tooth surface when the animal bites into it.
  • It is meant as a complete food, so can be fed to any adult cat or dog to help ensure healthy teeth and gums.

Routine Dentals

  • If you have been told your cat or dog needs a dental, he or she will need to spend the day with us.
  • A general anaesthetic is always required, which carries a very small risk. This risk is far less than leaving the teeth neglected. The procedure usually takes about an hour.
  • We have a special machine called an ultrasonic scaler, which lifts and removes the layer of scale or tartar overlying the teeth without damaging the tooth or gum.
  • Once this is all removed, we can inspect each tooth in detail. Individual teeth may need to be extracted, usually due to loss of gum support or erosive lesions. In both these cases, the extracted tooth will be beyond saving, and usually a cause of discomfort until removed.
  • Many people fear the animal will have more trouble eating after this. The contrary is true in most cases. The aim is to remove useless, painful teeth, and to create a healthy, pain-free mouth again.
  • The final touch is to use our polisher to smooth down the microscopically pitted tooth surface. This is not just so the mouth feels nicer, as a smooth surface slows down the rate of plaque build up, and delays the time your pet will need another dental.
  • A long-acting antibiotic injection is given at the time of dentals, but some cases may need a course of tablets as well. Painkillers are always given if an extraction is needed.
  • After the dental, don't forget regular tooth care for the future. You may need to be very gentle for the first few days with the toothbrush, but after that, get stuck in! Our nurses will advise you when!