Click to find some common questions on teeth
- Why does my pet have smelly breath? Halitosis (smelly breath) most commonly originates from plaque accumulation in the mouth. The smell is symptomatic of increasing amounts of deposits, which will eventually lead to gum disease. Doggy breath is certainly not normal, and you should seek veterinary advice.
- Wild animals don’t have dentistry performed, so why does my dog need it? Wild animals do suffer from bad teeth and often die as a result. In the wild animals do not live as long as we hope our pets will, and as dental diseases are progressive, our pets are at greater risk of more debilitating dental conditions.
- My pet is not in pain, so should I just wait and see what happens? Absolutely not. Animals do not exhibit the same symptoms of pain as we see with ourselves. The behavioural changes that animals show are often very subtle. Dental disease is often extremely advanced by the time they stop eating and months of worsening pain will have preceded this.
- I know my animal needs dental treatment but I am worried about the anaesthetic. What are the risks involved? Any anaesthetic procedure carries a risk. Modern anaesthetic drugs and protocols are designed to minimise these. Have a talk with your vet who will be able to discuss your pet specifically and probably offer various blood tests to gain valuable information regarding your pets health. We all aim to ensure the safety of your pet whilst in our care.
- How do I know my pet has a dental problem? Often you don’t. Frequent health checks by a veterinary professional with regular checks by you will highlight potential problems. Signs to look out for include smelly breath, reddened gums, any discharges, broken teeth, facial swellings, not eating easily or perhaps showing signs of being head shy. If you are in any doubt, seek veterinary advice. (see the information pages for dental conditions affecting animals.
- My pet will not tolerate tooth brushing – what else can I do? Tooth brushing is the only way to prevent gingivitis and progressing gum disease. Various diets and chews with a dental claim are available. These products may have some benefits but will never be as effective as daily tooth brushing. See our information page on dental homecare for more information.
- Are dental x-rays really necessary? Much of the tooth structure lies below the gum, hidden from view. Without x-rays much disease and the extent of the disease is often missed. Certain procedures require x-rays (radiographs) to be taken to ensure that the treatment has been effectively carried out. Taking dental x-rays allows better treatment planning, saving time and reducing potential risks and trauma.