At The Dog Clinic, we aim to protect your dogs’ health by taking good care of their teeth.
We offer our patients an exclusive ‘Dental Program’ which allows them to access:
- Unlimited FREE dental checks with our experienced vets
- Digital dental x-rays
- An annual dental scale & polish under anaesthetic for a discounted rate
When used in conjunction with at-home preventatives (tooth brushing, oral hygiene chews/rinses, chewing appropriate bones or pigs ears etc.) it is the best way to care for your dogs’ teeth, and ensure every kiss they plant on your cheek is minty fresh!
contact us to book a FREE DENTAL CHECK for your dog today!
What is Dental Disease?
Just like humans, dogs are vulnerable to problems with their teeth and gums. Up to 80% of dogs will suffer from some form of dental disease by the age of three!
When there is a build up of bacteria, food particles and saliva on the teeth, plaque is formed. Plaque sticks to the tooth surface above and below the gum line and if not removed will calcify into tartar (also known as calculus). This appears as a yellow-brown material on the teeth. Over time the bacterial infection in tartar causes irreversible changes to occur. This can lead to pain, inflammation, smelly breath, gum infection and tooth loss.
Imagine how your teeth would look and FEEL if you had never brushed your teeth before?? Yuck!
BEFORE: Plaque & tartar in a dog with Grade 2 Dental Disease AFTER: Pearly white, clean teeth again after a professional scale & polish!
How is Dental Disease diagnosed?
Firstly, you should have your dog’s teeth examined by one of our veterinarians. This is easy with our Free Dental Checks! At the appointment, our vets can advise if a professional dental scale & polish (clean) under anaesthetic is necessary, or if maintenance care at home is sufficient to keep their teeth healthy. The degree of dental disease will be assessed to determine if extractions, antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatories may be required. Dental surgery can vary according to the severity of disease present, so by having a free dental check our vets will be able to give you an accurate estimate for your dogs’ needs.
What does a professional dental clean involve?
It is the same as a scale and polish done by a dentist for us. However, unlike us, our dogs won’t sit still or open their mouth to allow x-rays and a comprehensive cleaning of their teeth while they are awake! For this reason our dogs need to have a general anaesthetic for a professional dental clean. The dental treatment requires a day stay at our Taroona hospital. All procedures include a physical exam and nail trim, and may also include blood/urine tests to ensure your dog is healthy prior to having an anaesthetic. Prior to surgery, your dog will be given a pain relief/sedation injection and have an intravenous catheter placed to access their vein. They will have a drip to keep them hydrated and protect their organs. One of our surgical nurses will monitor your dog while they are anaesthetised, ensuring their heart rate & blood pressure remains stable, that they are kept warm and that they recover from their anaesthetic quietly and comfortably.
Once anaesthetised, a complete dental examination is carried out. This process involves charting all present teeth and evaluating their condition, including the degree of tartar, gingivitis (gum inflammation) and any pockets in the gums around the teeth. The vet will then remove the tartar above the gumline using a special ultrasonic scaler, just like a dentist uses for our teeth. The teeth are then polished using a dental polisher and specialised fine-grade paste. If the dental disease is not severe, the procedure will end here. However, if certain teeth are so severely affected they cannot be saved, extractions will be necessary. In some cases, gum surgery is required to close the holes left behind when a tooth is extracted, and dissolvable stitches are used for this procedure. Once all dental work is completed, your dog may be given an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory injection, the anaesthetic gas is turned off, and your dog is allowed to wake up. Dogs are generally able to go home on the same day.
Following a professional dental clean, a plan needs to be implemented to minimise build up of tartar again, and will depend on the severity of your dog’s dental disease. This may involve regular tooth brushing, feeding appropriate bones and/or a special diet. It is recommended that all dogs be examined 6 months after dental cleaning to determine the effectiveness of your dental care routine.
How can I minimise ongoing dental disease?
Long-term control and prevention of dental disease requires regular home care. The best way to begin this is to acclimatise your dog from a young age to a dental care regime. Dental home care may include:
- Brushing teeth daily – just like us! This is the best form of dental hygiene. Dog toothbrushes and toothpaste are now available. Please do not use human toothpaste formulas as they are not designed to be swallowed and may be toxic to your dog.
- Feed dogs appropriate bones or special dental diets. This can help reduce the accumulation of tartar.
- Use dental toys, enzymatic chews, or teeth cleaning biscuits, all of which may help keep the teeth clean.
Regular and frequent attention to your dogs’ teeth may avoid the need for a professional dental clean under anaesthetic, and will also improve your dog’s overall health.