Dog Dentistry

Dog Dental Problems

If your dog has dental disease or a toothache, you may not notice it !!

At the annual vaccination a canine dental exam and health check-up is done . Dr Phil is experienced in dog dentistry.

A bad smell from our dogs teeth, canine dental tartar build-up , red gums can be signs of canine dental disease.

A dog vet dental check up may highlight the need for a canine dental with ultrasonic scaling polishing, tooth extractions etc

often a a change in diet to a canine tooth diet is recommended.

A pet dog will literally live longer with healthy teeth and gums. Dental disease leads to kidney failure, liver and heart disease.

Over 85% of dogs and cats over 4 years old have some form of periodontal (dental) disease. Dental disease causes bad breath (halitosis) and pain, it is also a source of infection and can make your pet seriously ill.

Dental disease is preventable in the vast majority of cases and in most cases, easy to achieve at home. There are many different methods to keep your pet’s “pearly white” teeth and these should be started while they are puppies and kittens.

For adult cats and dogs with existing dental disease, a dental treatment with a scale and polish under general anaesthetic is often necessary.

Why us for your pet dentistry ?

In about 1995 Dr Phil and Dr Johan Joubert opened an animal dental veterinary clinic . It was the only referral dental clinic in South Africa for number of years.  Being the only veterinary dental clinic we had the opportunity to treat an incredible diversity of canine and feline  dental patients. We treated a lot of  pets  for dental diseae .  We did root canals in two Siberian tigers – feline dentistry in a macro level!!  The Canine tooth typically  in canine dentistry has 1/3 of the tooth visible and 2/3 of the tooth  root,  embedded in the maxillary bone or cheek. The canine tooth root extends Up to the eye. So a tigers tooth is about 7cm to the naked eye with a 14 cm root!! the total tooth is about 20cm – massive – and powerful!..

At our Veterinary dental clinic   as there were no registered  specialist veterinary dentists in South Africa we got to  treat primates like baboons, and chimps and rodents like rabbits.  The veterinary dental clinic was also involved in teaching the veterinary students from the veterinary faculty.

Treating the canine  oral cavity as a canine  dentist or dog  dentist requires a good dental knowledge background as very gentle oral tissue handling and gentle ultrasonic scaling and polishing of the dogs teeth afer scaling  mouth is important.

Dr Phil now lives in Melbourne and enjoys doing dentistry in dogs and cats.  The burwood based veterinary hospital has a good dental unit and used sterile dog dental sets for each patient.

Dentistry is a rapidly growing area of veterinary science. We have seen a greater awareness over the last 25 years of its importance to the overall health of the animals we treat.

Just like humans, pets’ teeth need looking after too! The health of their teeth and gum’s has a significant impact on their overall quality of life. Imagine how your mouth would feel, and smell, if you never brushed your teeth. Imagine having a really bad toothache and not being able to tell anyone about it!

Dental disease begins with a build up of bacteria in your pet’s mouth. Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris, can cause plaque to accumulate on the tooth. As calcium salts are deposited, plaque turns to tartar (brown or yellow material starting near the gum line of the tooth). Without proper preventive or therapeutic care, plaque and tartar build-up leads to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can cause oral pain, tooth loss and even heart or kidney problems.

Common signs of dental disease, in order of severity, include:

  • Yellow-brown tartar around the gumline
  • Inflamed, red gums
  • Bad breath
  • Change in eating or chewing habits (especially in cats)
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pain or bleeding when you touch the gums or mouth
  • Fractures teeth ot even bleeding from the pulp

If your pet is showing any of these signs of dental disease please book an appointment to see one of our veterinarians.  Early assessment and action can save your pet’s teeth!

How can I prevent dental disease in my dog?

Seriously start by cleaning the tooth – gum margin of the upper teeth once a week with a tissue – or face cloth at least !! 

Long-term control and prevention of dental disease requires regular home care. The best way to begin this is to accustom your pet from an early age. Dental home care may include:

  • Brushing teeth daily – just like us! This is the best form of dental hygiene. Pet toothbrushes and toothpaste are now available. Please do not use human toothpaste formulas on your pet as they are not designed to be swallowed and may be toxic.
  • Feed pets raw meaty bones or special dental diets. This can help reduce the accumulation of tartar.
  • Use dental toys, enzymatic chews, or teeth cleaning biscuits, all of which may help keep the teeth clean.

Regular and frequent attention to your pet’s teeth may avoid the need for a professional dental clean under anesthetic, and will also improve your pet’s overall health.

 What does a professional dental clean involve?

It is the same as a scale and polish done by a dentist for us. However, unlike us, our pets won’t sit still or open their mouth to allow a comprehensive cleaning of their teeth. For this reason our pets need to have a general anaesthetic for a professional veterinary  dental clean and polish.  Your pet will need to be assessed by one of our veterinarians.  The degree of dental disease will be assessed to determine if extractions, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories will be required.

The assessment may also include a physical exam, blood tests and urine tests to ensure they are healthy prior to having an anaesthetic.  Once anesthetized, we can give the teeth a thorough cleaning using our specialized dental equipment.  When your pet goes home we will also discuss methods of reducing dental disease in the future.

If you have any questions about dog dental care or professional cleaning please ask .