Teeth can cause many health problems and pain in pet dogs and cats. As pets get older, it is almost inevitable that there is a gradual build up of tartar and plaque on teeth. If this is left untreated, it gradually leads to problems such as erosion of the gums, gingivitis (gum infection), tooth decay and eventually loss of teeth. Signs of tooth decay and gingivitis include halitosis (bad breath), difficulty eating and excessive salivation.
There are a variety of things that can be done to help slow down this natural process. The vets and nurses at Wards are able to advise you on the best course of action for your pet, whether it be:
- Tooth cleaning – If started at a young age, a lot of dogs and some cats will allow regular cleaning of teeth with a tooth brush and paste. We stock a variety of products suitable for this purpose. This is the best way of preventing the build up of tartar in the first place, keeping your pet’s teeth healthy for longer.
- Dental diets – Certain diets are designed specifically to minimise the build up of tartar on your pet’s teeth.
- Scale and polish – If your pet gets to the stage that there is significant build up of tartar on the teeth, or evidence of tooth decay, it might be advised for your pet to undergo dental treatment under a general anaesthetic. This involves tartar being removed with an ultrasonic scaler. The teeth are then polished, which minimises the chances of further build up of tartar in the future.
In the event that there is decay or severe gum erosion, it may be necessary to remove some teeth. All this can usually be done under one anaesthetic and can significantly improve your pet’s quality of life. If you think your pet is suffering from dental problems, or if you want some advice on preventative treatments, please contact the surgery.