Dental Care


Dental disease or periodontal is one of the most common diseases seen in small animal practice. It is also one of the most commonly missed by owners.

Animals can suffer from periodontal disease without showing any obvious signs. Bad breath is not normal, and can be an indicator.

Periodontal disease usually progresses from gingivitis; though not all patients with gingivitis will go on to develop periodontitis.

The primary cause of periodontal disease is the accumulation of dental plaque on the tooth surfaces. The bacteria which is naturally present in the mouth combines with the saliva and food debris to form a film on the tooth’s surface, known as plaque.

Tartar is formed by the gradual mineralisation of the dental plaque with salivary calcium. Tartar appears as a hard, brown deposit on the tooth’s surface.

Gingivitis is the earliest sign of periodontal disease.

symptoms of gingivitis include redness, inflammation and swelling of gums.

Gingivitis affects only the gums; it does not destroy the deeper-lying tissue, and is reversible.

Periodontitis may develop in an individual with untreated gingivitis. The inflammation in periodontitis involves not only the gums but also the surrounding periodontal ligament (tissue that attaches the tooth to the bone), alveolar bone (bone which surround the root of the tooth, holding it in place) and cementum (bony substance covering the root of the tooth).

Periodontitis is not reversible: once the alveolar bone and periodontal ligament have been destroyed it is impossible to replace them without expensive and complicated periodontal surgery.

Clinical signs of periodontitis include the presence of severe bad breath and large amounts of tartar, your pet may be in pain and could have difficulty eating.

Bacteria and bacterial products can spread from the initial site of infection to cause distant inflammatory reactions, e.g. in the liver, kidneys and heart.

Periodontal disease is an ongoing disease. Pets that have received veterinary dental care in the past, but have received no preventative dental hygiene care at home since, will re- present with the same problems.

If diagnosed with dental disease, your pet may require a dental scale under general anaesthetic. This involves scaling and polishing the teeth and possible tooth extractions. However, the best cure for the development of dental disease is prevention!! Yearly dental check-ups by a veterinarian, usually at the time of vaccination, will help you to monitor your pet’s teeth and identify any underlying problems, especially tartar build up.

Diet is an important means of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Feeding animals what they would typically eat in the wild is a recognised way of minimising or eradicating many of the medical conditions, not just dental, facing pets fed commercially prepared foods.

A nutritious diet including raw meat and bones and fresh foods have an important role in dental health as well as the general health and well being of your pet. Chewing bones can act as a mechanical de-scaler naturally removing plaque and reducing the risk of tartar build up. Raw meat and bones also provide many vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy gums, teeth and bones. Pets that won’t eat bones or can’t be fed bones can access similar acting natural pet foods, or especially formulated dental diets. Either talk to your vet about this or do your own research. With your help your pet can have healthy teeth and gums throughout their lives.

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(03) 5470 6300 or (03) 5472 2268