Dentistry For Your Pets
Dental disease is one of the commonest diseases in dogs & cats & causes more pain to more pets than any other condition. This is largely a man made problem. If they ate mice, sparrows and the like, this would keep their teeth naturally clean. Problem is then the dogs & cats would get worms from this. The worst dog & cat foods are the pouches & tinned food. A spoon test gives you an idea of the problem. If you stick a spoon in a pouch or tinned food, usually the food sticks to the spoon & is hard to get off. It you stick the spoon in dry food, little sticks to the spoon & it is much easier to clean off. The same happens with your pets teeth.
As soon as possible it is best to start preventative treatment to reduce the likelihood of your pet requiring more dental treatment in future years. Plaque continually builds up on your pets teeth and if left will harden to form calculus which then has to be removed when we scale the teeth.
There are a few things that you can do at home that will help to prevent the build up of plaque.
As your own dentist will tell you, brushing your teeth is the best way that you can prevent tartar build up on your teeth. The same advice applies to your pet. It can be easier than you think. Start by rubbing toothpaste onto the teeth with your finger and gradually process to using a brush. Make sure that you use a toothpaste formulated for pet use (they come in a variety of flavours, i.e. poultry or fish) as these do not create as much froth as human toothpaste and pets prefer a savoury taste to a minty one. Also the pet is not swallowing the fluoride found in human formulations. Daily brushing is needed.
Pets that are fed on tinned/soft foods can be more prone to plaque build up, due to the soft consistency of meat it sticks to the teeth more than dried food. We believe it is best for most pets (if not brushing every day) that you try to change your pets diet to a complete dried food, please ask our nutritional advisor who will be pleased to advise you on a suitable diet for your pet.
TD (tooth diet for dogs & cats)
There is also a complete diet called TD (TD stands for tooth diet) that is designed to clean your pets teeth as they are eating. TD is not suitable for kittens nor puppies. You can feed TD by itself or with other food.
ORAL HYGIENE GEL
We can provide you with a gel that is formulated to adhere to the teeth and gums, the active ingredients help to break down dental plaque. The gel is simple and quick to administer, requires no brushing and fights bad breath by reducing the formation of plaque. Used daily the gel can be useful for pets which resent having their teeth brushed.
Once plaque has been left on the tooth for a few days, calcium in the diet gets mixed in with the plaque & it becomes hard & is called calculus. Calculus can not be brushed off & needs to be removed at the vets.
Veterinary Dental Care
At Airedale Vets we can clean your pets teeth for you. Also we can extract bad teeth if needed.
We have special forceps to remove the worst of the hard calculus. Then we use an Ultra Sonic Scaler (the same as a dentist uses to clean human teeth) to remove all of the rest of the calculus. Once we have cleaned the teeth we can inspect them & any that are badly damaged are best removed. We have dental drills to help us. Also we inspect the roots with a dental probe. Any teeth with badly damage roots are best extracted. All the remaining teeth are polished with a dental polisher and prophy paste (again the same paste used to polish human teeth). This polishing is not just cosmetic but is very important in slowing down the deterioration of the teeth in the future. The teeth & gums are then cleaned with chlorhexidine solution to help the gums repair & to protect the teeth. Cats& dogs need to be anaesthetised to do this.