Digging our teeth into dental disease!

Dental is the most common inflammatory disorder in cats and dogs and it is usually chronic and misunderstood by pet owners.

What is dental disease?

Dental disease is an umbrella term for inflammation or infection within the mouth of your pet. The structures that can be affected by dental disease include the gums, the teeth themselves and the bone and attachments which support the teeth.

Why does disease occur?

Dental disease all starts with plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the teeth constantly, we remove this each day on our own teeth when we brush our teeth. When plaque sits on the teeth, uninterrupted, for too long, it forms a hard substance called tartar. This often looks like sediment on the teeth and you may have had your vet point it out to you during consultations.

This thick layer of tartar containing bacteria is incredibly hard for the bodies own defences to break down and even tricky to target with antibiotic drugs. When the bacteria invades the space between the teeth and gums, we get inflammation (gingivitis). This is when we get pain, foul smelling breath and further issues with tooth roots and surrounding structures.

How do we treat dental disease once it’s already a problem?

Veterinary intervention to treat dental disease is often called a ‘dental’. This can range from just scaling and polishing the teeth in mild cases of plaque formation to extracting diseased/broken teeth in more serious cases. Dentals are performed under general anaesthetic. Depending on the severity of disease we may also prescribe antibiotics to help combat infections.

How do we prevent dental disease?

Like most things, prevention is better than cure. At home, the best way to prevent this nasty cycle of events is to stop the plaque from sitting on the teeth and forming tartar. To do this we can:

Brush teeth regularly with a tooth brush!

  • This is sometimes a tricky task but a great habit to get into if it’s possible with your furry friends, some tolerate it a lot more than you think after a bit of practice!

Dental chews

  • The mechanical action of chewing can help disrupt plaque build up on the teeth. Chews can be edible (denta-stix etc) or non edible (rubber toys).
  • However it depends on the chewing habits of your pet ie. how much they chew before they swallow!
  • Chews are recommended daily however we must count their calories with the daily requirements of the pet.

Oral rinses and gels

  • eg Stomodine. Stomodine contains chlorhexidine which is an antimicrobial agent. The gel is applied to the teeth and reduces plaque build up.

Regular veterinary scale and polish procedures

  • Unfortunately in some cases, plaque formation cannot be prevented at home. In these cases we can intervene and scale the tartar off teeth before it causes horrible disease.

Pet Dental Health Month Offer

Don’t forget, just for February, in conjunction with Pet Dental Health Month, we are offering 15% off all dental procedures for cats and dogs. Please read more and then give us a call on 01825 764268.

Register Now

If you would like to register your pets with us at Fairfield House then please give us a call now, or follow the link to fill in a registration form and one of our friendly members of staff will be in touch.

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