Dentistry

What is dental disease?

Dental disease occurs when tartar (calcified deposits of bacteria) builds up on the surface of the tooth. Tartar can be recognised on your pet’s tooth as a yellow or brown deposit. If tartar is not promptly removed it can lead to gum inflammation, pain and loosening of teeth which may require extractions.

Signs of dental disease in your dog or cat

  • Bad breath
  • Changes in eating habits e.g. chewing on one side of the mouth or reduced appetite
  • Excessive drooling and teeth grinding
  • Pawing at the face and mouth
  • Red and bleeding gums

Why is it important?

Dental disease is the most common disease seen in veterinary practice.

  • 75% of all animals presenting to a veterinary clinic will have some level of dental disease.
  • 70% of cats and 80% dogs (100% of small breed dogs) will have dental disease by the age of 3 years old.

Dental disease can progress very quickly and the severity of the disease increases with age and lack of good dental hygiene at home.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has classified dental disease as a serious welfare issue due to the widespread affects it can have on your pet’s overall health.

Dental disease can lead to

  • Pain
  • Chronic infection and inflammation such as chronic cough
  • Reduced immune function leading to frequent illnesses
  • Adverse effects on the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys
  • Predisposition to diabetes due to insulin resistance
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Early mortality

The good news is dental disease can be prevented with consistent and regular dental hygiene practices at home. If you suspect your pet already has dental disease, please contact our clinic for further advice and appropriate treatment options. Call us on 03 8373 0301.

Grading Dental Disease

Dental disease is graded from 0 to 4 depending on the extent of gingivitis, calculus, gum and bone recession, bad breath and pain. The grade of dental disease is important as it helps us stage the disease and ascertain its impact on the health of your pet, the urgency of intervention and the associated costs.

So, flip your dogs or cats lip and have a go at grading their teeth for yourself! If you feel that it is anything but a grade 0, your pet needs a dental check and health plan to prevent their teeth from getting worse. Please contact Lynbrook Vet for a dental health appointment.

Grade 0:

  • No evidence of plaque or tartar
  • Gums are healthy and pink
  • No bad odour from the mouth

Grade 1:

  • Small amounts of plaque and tartar on the teeth
  • Mild redness and swelling of the gums
  • Bad mouth odour

Beyond grade 1 the dental disease is irreversible!!

Grade 2:

  • Moderate amounts of plaque and tartar on the teeth
  • Red, swollen gums that may bleed when touched
  • Bad mouth odour
  • Pain and discomfort

Beyond grade 2, dental disease risks your pet’s overall health!!

The severe build-up of bacteria in the mouth can be swallowed and enter the bloodstream, travelling to distant organs within the body causing disease. The heart, liver and kidneys are most susceptible to damage due to their abundant blood supply. Infection within these organs can alter their function and pose a serious risk to your pet’s health.

Grade 3:

  • Heavy build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth
  • Red, swollen gums that may bleed spontaneously
  • Severely bad mouth odour
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Mobile teeth

Grade 4:

  • Severe build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth
  • Severely red, swollen, bleeding gums
  • Severely bad mouth odour
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Mobile teeth

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