Since pets can’t tell us when they have dental or oral disease, regular oral examinations are recommended. Dental disease can lead to infections, discomfort or pain, decreased quality of life, and difficulty controlling concurrent diseases like diabetes.
Since Potton Vets offers advanced treatment options, you can be certain you are providing your pet with the best care. Ultimately, our goal is to help improve the comfort and quality of our patients’ lives.
What dentistry do we perform?
Prophylactic scale and polish:
This is where tartar is removed from the teeth in the early stages of periodontal disease, it is the same as going to the dentist and having your teeth scaled to remove tartar. The aim is to remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and so that regular dental home can be effectively performed (dental brushing, mouth washes and dental foods). To perform and effective scale an anaesthetic is mandatory.
At the time of the dental treatment we examine all the teeth and treat any problems that we may find as needed. It is the only time we get to look at the teeth properly as it is generally impossible to do in a conscious pet. We use a dental x-ray machine when we find abnormalities as it is the only way we can evaluate the roots and structures beneath the gum line. This is a technique we have perfected over the last 5 years of so.
Extractions are only done where necessary. Reasons of extraction may be advanced periodontal disease, loose teeth, exposed root canals and mal-alignments which cause pain or discomfort.
Cats have an unusual condition where they develope holes in their teeth called “neck lesion”. These are not treatable and the teeth require extraction as they are extremely painful and do not respond to fillings. X-rays of these teeth before extraction are essential for planning the correct type of extraction. If the roots are bound to the bone, we can remove the crowns and leave the roots in place. On the other hand if they are not bound the roots do need to be removed. The best (and only) way to decide which is the correct extraction technique, is to x-ray the tooth roots. The correct term for neck lesions is feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions of FORL’s for short.
This is usually done where teeth have very long roots, or if a root fragment remains. The gum is cut and lifted from the underlying bone. The bone overlying the root is removed, the root is then removed with very little trauma. Once this is done the gum is sutured back in place. Although this sounds complicated it is actually far less traumatic to the pet than trying to lever the root out.
Deciduous canines (baby tooth problems):
Most puppy and kitten baby teeth fall out by 6 months of age. In a minority of cases the canines (the big, sharp teeth in the front of the mouth) do not fall out in time. If they don’t fall out when they should, they can make the permanent teeth come out crooked and create mal-alignments. In these cases it is very important to remove these deciduous teeth to allow the permanent teeth to grow straight early on. It is a very delicate procedure as it is important to not damage the root of the permanent tooth which is often in contact with the baby tooth.
Growths, foreign bodies and other problems:
Dogs and cats do get tumours growing in their mouths, they get sticks, string, grass seeds and a long list of odd events in their mouths.