Keeping pet’s teeth healthy across Cheshire

Unlike humans, pets don’t have the ability to maintain their own dental hygiene so they often require some help. Every time dogs and cats eat their food, debris mixes with saliva and bacteria and forms a layer of plaque on their teeth – something that we brush off our teeth twice daily.

Without brushing this plaque forms a layer of hard tartar on the teeth. The presence of the tartar, along with bacteria trapped along the gum line can cause inflammation of the gum (gingivitis) and smelly breath (halitosis).

With time this can move down into the tooth roots causing wobbly teeth, pain and infections. Infections can cause abscesses and can also have effects on other body systems such as the heart and kidneys. Good dental care is therefore essential for the health and wellbeing of your pet.

Pet Dental Treatment in Cheshire

Here at Knutsford Veterinary Surgery our vets and nurses work hard to prevent dental disease causing health problems. In the early stages of disease a simple, quick and inexpensive procedure to remove all of the tartar from the teeth (scaling) and polishing (smoothing surface to reduce tartar sticking) can be all that’s required, along with teaching your pet how to have their teeth brushed or introducing a dental diet.

Once the disease has advanced, extractions of teeth may be required. This is a quick and usually simple procedure, made easier by our high speed dental air drill. All of our patients are sent home with a dental chart and our nurses will help guide you through a dental disease prevention plan that is tailored to your pet.

Preventative dental care with our Gold Plan

We are big advocates of preventative dental healthcare. Where over 90% of pets will require some form of dentistry before they are 5 years old, isn’t it better we look to mirror the progress achieved in the human sector. That’s why at Knutsford Veterinary Surgery we have included a fixed price scale and polish as standard within our Gold Plan.

Brushing teeth is still regarded as the Gold Standard in dental hygiene in which a mechanical and enzymatic cleaning approach can be achieved. It has the added advantage that it is also the cheapest option. Old as well as new dogs can be taught to accept brushing and for a quick guide in how to brush a dog or cats teeth, watch our video below.

Home visit dental care

Much of our dental equipment can now be used on our home visits service. If your pet is nervous about visiting the surgery, we can perform many dental procedures and diagnosis in your own home. Visit our home visits service to find out more or contact our team today.

State of the art dental x-rays

We reinvest in the best equipment all the time at Knutsford Vets and in 2016 purchased a state of the art dental x-ray system to detect dental problems both above and below the gum-line. This is the gold standard of care in the human world so why shouldn’t it be in veterinary medicine?

Our dental x-ray system uses the same plates used by human dentists. The level of detail is much higher than a standard x-ray plate that may be utilized for taking an x-ray of a leg for example. The small size and high resolution allow intra-oral x-rays to be taken to diagnose disease within the mouth and monitor any progression.

Some vets use lower quality plates that have been adapted from a standard x-ray system, however these lack the detail and resolution and can lead to disease being missed.

So what sort of issues are picked up on dental x-ray?

Resorptive lesions (type I/Type II)

Most frequently a problem in cats and found in up to 80% of patients requiring dental treatment. These are very difficult to identify in the conscious patient and all an owner may detect is difficulty or pain whilst eating, favouring one side of the mouth, decreased appetite or some blood in the saliva. There are two different types of tooth resorption – type I and type II. The two types are impossible to diagnose without dental x-ray and require very different approaches to treatment. For this reason, DENTAL RADIOGRAPHY SHOULD BE PERFORMED IN ALL CATS UNDERGOING A DENTAL PROCEDURE.

Tooth Fractures

Often traumatic following a car accident for cats or stone chewing for dogs. Fractures leave the pulp exposed and risk tooth root abscesses forming. Caught early, these teeth can be treated to maintain a healthy tooth but the window for appropriate treatment is small so fast treatment using the best equipment is essential.

Horizontal bone loss

This follows periodontitis where toxins release from bacteria and cause inflammation. Plaque causes the body to resorb the bone in the jaw surrounding a tooth and weakening the structure around the tooth causing it to become loose and painful. Affected teeth need to be taken out.

Tooth Root Abscesses

Most commonly caused by pulp exposure secondary to tooth fracture or worn teeth following chewing of tennis balls or stones. The tooth pulp becomes inflamed and infected causing an abscess at the root, a very painful condition requiring extraction. TOOTH ROOT ABCESSES NEED DENTAL X-RAY TO BE DIAGNOSED.

Jaw Fractures

Most often as a result of trauma but can result secondary to damage to the bone following a tooth root abscess, oral cancer or following extraction of a tooth. Identifying the location and extent of a fracture helps to identify the best way to fix it.

Cancer

Oral cancers are one of the most common types of cancers diagnosed in cats and dogs.  Tumours can be malignant or benign, locally invasive or metastatic (prone to spreading elsewhere in the body). The most common form of mouth cancer in cats is Squamous Cell Carcinoma accounting for 70% of oral cancers diagnosed in the species. Other neoplasms found in the mouth include melanomas, and fibro-sarcomas.

We have written a couple of case studies on recent dental cases showing just how useful dental x-ray is in our patients.

Dental Surgery for all pets

Our vets commonly perform both closed extractions and surgical extractions (gum stitched after) to remove teeth affected by tartar build up, fractured crowns or in our feline patients teeth with odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs) which cause painful red holes in the tooth.

Rabbits also suffer from dental disease. Their teeth continuously grow throughout life and it is very important that they have regular health checks to detect any problems early. A rabbit’s diet should be predominantly hay based to allow them to chew and grind their molars together and wear them down.

When they do not wear their molars evenly, sharp spurs can form which can then cut into the cheek or tongue. Roots also overgrow causing swellings and pain, whilst their tear ducts can become damaged leading to watery, milky eye discharge.

Here at Knutsford Veterinary Surgery we recognise the different requirements of rabbits and other small furries versus our canine and feline patients. For this reason we have specialised dental equipment (gags and small high speed burrs) as well as specialised anaesthetic equipment and protocols to ensure the safety of smaller pets.

For more information on the dental treatments, consultations and services that Knutsford Veterinary Surgery offers, contact us on 01565 337 999.