How To Check Your Pets Teeth

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08/02/2012
Please read the following article to find out how to check your pets teeth and find out what happens when your pet comes in for a dental.
Checking Teeth
To check your pets teeth pull their lips back and look at the sides of the mouth.  You are looking for the colour of the tooth, any tartar stuck to the tooth and the colour of the gums.  Look for any broken or missing teeth.  In young pets look for any baby teeth that haven't fallen out.

The teeth should be white and clean.  The gums should be pink or pigmented and smooth and even.

Infected or inflamed gums are red and swollen and bleed easily.

Check how your animal is eating at home.  Are they eating all types of food? Are they favouring one side of their mouth when eating? Are they dropping food or salivating more than normal?

Check how your pets breath smells! Tartar and gingivitis are one of the main causes of bad breath (halitosis).

If you are concerned the next step is to book your pet in for a free dental check with the nurse.  The nurse can advise you whether your pet needs to come in for dental work.  Some early infections or tartar build up can be addressed by using toothpaste or dental chews and antibiotics.  If needed they can book your pet in for extractions or a scale and polish.

When Your Pet Comes in for a Dental

When your pet comes in they will be assessed by a vet who will check overall health and dental health.  In older animals we often suggest taking a pre-anaesthetic blood sample to check for underlying health problems and putting the pet onto intravenous fluids during the anaesthetic to maintain blood pressure.

Your pet will have a full anaesthetic as it is not possible to fully assess all the teeth or do any extractions under sedation or local anaesthetic.  Once under anaesthetic the vet will use an electronic scaler to remove tartar and staining from all teeth.  Once the teeth are clean the vet will check each one individually.  When tartar builds up around teeth it causes inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and the gums often recede causing the tooth roots to become exposed.  This can lead to painful tooth root infections and abscesses.  If any teeth are found to  be badly exposed they are extracted.  If any teeth are found to be broken or loose they are also removed.  Cats often get decay on the outside of the tooth.  These can be very painful and can weaken the tooth so much so that it breaks in half.  Any teeth found to have these lesions are removed as this process can not be reversed.

Once extractions are complete the remaining teeth are checked again and then polished.

Your pet may be discharged with a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory painkillers depending on the number of teeth extracted and the level of infection and inflammation in the mouth.

After the anaesthetic most pets prefer soft food for a couple of days but are usually happy to eat their normal diet again within a week, even when they have had many extractions.

We check the pets mouth again 5 - 7 days after the dental work to check that the gums are healing and to discuss ongoing care of teeth.

There is also 15% off dental products during February.  This includes toothpaste, dental chews and dentagen aqua which is a liquid added to water which helps reduce tartar build up.