Dental disease is the most common health problem diagnosed in cats and dogs. However, it is still underdiagnosed and under treated. This is exacerbated by a “suffer in silence” approach which tends to be adopted by our pets. However, frequently these problems are painful and if identified and appropriate treatment instigated can be readily made pain free again.
What you can do for your Pet’s teeth.
So what can you do to prevent or treat dental disease? Monitor for any abnormal signs, including bad breath, change in chewing behaviour or sensitivity around the mouth. Have a look; lift the lips and assess the teeth and gums. Pay particular attention for missing teeth, broken teeth, discoloured teeth and inflamed, bleeding gums. Bring your pet in for a dental check. Discuss an appropriate home care regime with your vet, tailored to your pet’s specific needs.
A regular dental check is highly recommended. This will involve a visual assessment of all the teeth, gums and other tissues of the mouth. However, due to the potentially oral sensitivity and inherent difficulties in completely assessing all of the teeth, further assessment may be recommended. A complete oral examination requires assessment both above and below the gum line. To effectively achieve this, a general anaesthetic is required as it is not possible to fully assess or treat periodontal disease without a general anaesthetic. Often, radiographs (X-rays) are taken to provide an image of the bone and tooth roots within the bone and further, important information.
We (owners and your veterinary team) are our pet’s advocates. They rely on us to notice signs of disease and pain and act accordingly. Regular check ups and timely treatment can help to prevent chronic pain and infection and the need for extensive oral surgery. Don’t delay, book your pet a dental check up appointment now.
John Kidman BVSc MANZCVS (small animal dentistry and oral surgery) MRCVS
John qualified from Liverpool University in 2005 and after some charity work in Thailand, spent 18 months in mixed practice in Derbyshire. He joined Village Vet in 2007 and our Hampstead Hospital in 2009. During this time he has developed a special interest in dentistry. Pursuing this interest has lead to the completion of multiple courses, attending international conferences and spending time with RCVS recognised specialists. In 2012 he became a member (by examination) of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists, small animal dentistry and oral surgery chapter. Developing this interest has enabled more advanced treatments to be offered to our patients, improving the options available for maintaining healthy, pain free mouths.