Dental Disease

It is estimated that 70-80% of all cats and dogs that are two years and older suffer from dental diseases including gingivitis and periodontitis.  More than half of the patients seen at James Street Veterinary Hospital are victims of these preventable disorders.

Periodontal disease is a progressive disorder affecting the teeth and gums, which is caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar on the tooth surface. Without adequate care and attention, periodontal disease can result in discomfort, bad breath, irreversible damage to gums, premature loss of teeth, and infections that can affect other organs in the body such as the heart, liver and kidneys.

Why check your pet’s teeth and gums?

Do you notice any bad breath, red (painful) gums or plaque (pus) build up? Bad breath, painful gums and pus are all signs of gum disease and tooth decay. For our furry friends, the suffering and pain can be just as real as when we humans have a raw nerve or inflamed gums. But they hide their distress and cannot tell us when it hurts!

Dental problems and overall health

In fact, untreated dental problems can develop into serious, and even life threatening diseases in our pets that require expensive long term medication. Gum disease and rotten teeth can result in infections that spread to the blood stream and vital organs like the kidney, liver, and heart disease in aging pets.

We Recommend a Preventative Approach

Regular dental cleaning helps your pet to live a longer, healthier life. Just like in humans, we recommend an annual dental scale and polish for dogs and cats to prevent the decay and gum disease that results in us needing to remove teeth.

The Dental Check Process

During the dental check, we will review your pet’s teeth and gums, and discuss any treatment that may be required. Of course, if your pet’s teeth are healthy we will let you know what to look out for in the future and give you some tips for keeping their teeth nice and clean!

Dental Grading

  • Grade 0: Clinically normal, no gingival inflammation or periodontitis clinically evident.
  • Grade 1: inflammation of the gingival tissues; advances as the tissues become more inflamed and there may be bleeding with probing; gingivitis is limited to the gingival tissues, there is no attachment loss, no tooth mobility; gingivitis is reversible.
  • Grade 2: pocket formation and/or gingival recession are occurring; results in attachment loss of up to 25%.
  • Grade 3: 25-50% attachment loss around a tooth; slight tooth mobility may be present; pocketing, gingival recession and early furcation exposure may be present.
  • Grade 4: marked (over 50%) attachment loss; may appear as furcation exposure, deep pockets, mobility, and/or gingival recession.

Dental Procedures

Pets have teeth just like people. They need regular care to maintain health teeth and gums. A yearly professional scale and polish is extremely important to protect the gums and teeth from disease and teeth being lost. Like going to the dentist our hospital has a professional dental unit which, scales polishes and if need be specially designed high speed to drill to make teeth removal easier and less painful.

Steps that are involved in dental procedures include:

  1. General physical examination
  2. Preoperative bloodwork
  3. Preoperative antibiotics if indicated
  4. Preemptive pain management
  5. General anesthesia
  6. Intravenous fluids
  7. Oral rinse with chlorhexidine
  8. Supragingival scaling – remove plaque and tartar on the crown surface of the teeth
  9. Subgingival scaling – remove plaque and tartar under the gum surfaces of the teeth
  10. Detection of remaining plaque and tartar
  11. Polishing
  12. Irrigation
  13. Fluoride application
  14. Probe and explore
  15. Complete charting
  16. Dental radiographs
  17. Treatment plan
  18. Anesthetic recovery
  19. Home care
  20. Post procedure check ups