Have a pressing question? Check out our dentistry FAQs below.
Top questions our Dentistry Team are asked.
My pet has bad breath. What should I do?
Bad breath (halitosis) is an indication of an infection of the gingiva (gums) or bone. In order to determine the best treatment plan we advise an oral examination under anaesthesia to perform periodontal probing and dental x-rays:
- For pets with inflamed gums (gingivitis) and no bone loss, we recommend professional cleaning and polishing followed by a preventative home oral hygiene plan.
- If there are periodontal pockets around the teeth and bone loss (periodontitis), we can treat your pet with root planing or tissue regenerative therapy. For more severe disease, extractions are performed with optional pain control and tissue closure to encourage rapid healing and return to eating.
My pet does not act painful so how can there be any problems in the mouth?
Most pets with painful dental disease do not show obvious signs of any problems. The majority will continue to eat despite being in pain. You may notice them chewing on one side or swallowing their kibble whole. Most commonly, the painful condition develops gradually and most owners think their pets are ‘acting a little older’ or are ‘grumpy due to age’. In our experience, when we treat the disease and the pain is removed, the improvement is usually very noticeable and rapid. We often have happy reports that their pets are acting ‘years younger’ and are more energetic.
Why is anaesthesia-free dental cleaning not recommended?
While we would love to be able to perform dental assessment and treatment on your pet without anaesthesia, we do not offer this service as it does not allow for proper diagnosis or treatment. Just removing the calculus (tartar) from the surface of the teeth is NOT treating the source of the problem and gives the false impression of healthy, ‘clean’ teeth. The bacterial plaque needs to be removed from below the gum where the disease is occurring and the only way to achieve this safely and stress-free is with an anaesthetic.
Can surgery be done on the same day as the initial consultation?
If you pet has been fasted appropriately and there are no other health concerns that needs to be addressed first, most surgeries can be performed on the same day as the consultation. You can also choose to schedule surgery for a later date if you prefer. Sometimes it is preferable to schedule surgery at a later date especially if extra preparations are required prior to anaesthesia.
Should I fast my pet before our visit?
If you would like the option of your pet having surgery on the same visit as your initial consultation, fasting is recommended. We recommend no food after midnight on the night prior to your arrival. Water should be available until you come to the hospital, especially in warmer weather. If your pet is very young, has a medical condition such as diabetes, or takes medications that need to be given with food, please ask for advice on fasting when you book your appointment.
Does my pet need anaesthesia for their dental procedure?
Anaesthesia is generally the number one concern most owners have and is the most common reason for hesitating when it comes to having dental procedures performed on their pets. We recognise this is a legitimate concern for pet owners and try to make every attempt to make anaesethesia as safe as possible.
My pet has an increased anaesthetic risk due to concurrent illness. What options do I have?
We offer a dental service with a specialist anaesthetist to ensure pets with serious illnesses can also have a good quality of life free of dental pain and disease. From routine professional dental exams and cleans to extensive dental extractions/surgery, you can feel confident with the added service of a specialist anaesthetist managing the requirements of our more critical patients. Our team’s surgical experience also means procedures can be done quickly and efficiently to minimise the time under anaesthesia.
Is my pet too old for anaesthesia?
We frequently meet pet owners worried about anaesthesia since they have previously been told their pet was ‘too old for anaesthesia.’ Age is not a disease and does not directly reflect health status. We prefer to evaluate each pet individually to accurately assess their health status. Anaesthesia is individualised for patients based on their health. Anaesthetic related death in pets is estimated to be less than 1% and the likelihood of pain and suffering from untreated disease approaches 100%. We believe the small risk is worth taking to avoid unnecessary suffering and a lifetime of chronic pain.
How much will a dental cost?
It is not until our patients’ teeth are cleaned, probed and dental x-rays are evaluated under an anaesthetic that we know the extent of dental disease that exists and ultimately the treatment(s) that are needed. In most instances, we have anticipated additional findings and will be able to complete the therapy within the written estimate. We will contact you to let you know of any additional findings and your available options and estimate changes. We strive to treat all the dental conditions under the one anaesthetic.
Will my pet still be able to eat after having teeth extracted?
Yes. Our aim is to ensure your pet has a pain-free and healthy mouth following treatment. We have many patients happily eating a regular diet with very few to no teeth. We can offer advanced techniques to save teeth and only ever extract teeth when it is the best option for your pet. Most eat far better without the pain and infection, despite having fewer teeth.
Are there alternatives to extracting my pet’s teeth?
Often, there are alternatives to extraction of teeth that we can offer. We can perform advanced procedures such as root canal treatment and crown restoration to save broken or abscessed teeth. Gum surgery and tissue regeneration surgery can be performed to save teeth affected with advanced periodontal disease.
Should I bring my pet in because of a broken tooth?
Broken or fractured teeth are a common problem in veterinary dental practice. Chewing on hard objects like bones, rocks, deer antlers, large knotted rawhides, and hard plastic/Nyla-bones are common culprits and result in fracturing of a tooth that may or may not extend into the pulp canal of the tooth.
The pulp canal is the chamber within the tooth that houses the pulp tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. If the fracture exposes the pulp canal, the tooth will be acutely painful. Most pets, however, do not show obvious signs of tooth pain, even when there is severe dental disease. These pets will typically chew on the other side of the mouth or avoid using the broken tooth until the nerve dies in a matter of weeks to months.
Once the nerve dies, the open pulp canal is an area where food, saliva, debris, and bacteria enter the tooth resulting in an infection of the pulp tissue. The root of the tooth then becomes infected and will eventually abscess. The pain associated with the broken tooth changes from acute pain to chronic pain.
Antibiotics will help control the infection temporarily, but the problem recurs after discontinuing the medications. The infection will persist until the source of the infection, the infected pulp, is removed either by root canal therapy or extraction. We do not advise monitoring a broken or fractured tooth and strongly advise seeking veterinary attention.
My cat has been diagnosed with Feline Chronic Gingivostomatitis (FCGS). Do cats with FCGS need to have their teeth extracted?
The gold standard of treatment is to extract all premolar and molar teeth, leaving behind no root fragments, and monitoring them frequently in their postoperative period. In 60% of cats, extraction of the premolar and molar teeth resolves the inflammation. In 80% of cats, their clinical signs will be well-controlled, allowing them to live a happy life. This means that 20% of cats who have FCGS will not respond to premolar and molar teeth extraction. In this small percentage of cats, we may have to proceed with the extraction of the canine and incisor teeth, and they may need further medications to try to control the inflammation and pain. Cats that have been diagnosed with FIV or FeLV may be more likely to fall into this non-responsive category of cats.
It is important to note that unfortunately, using medications to try to reduce the pain and inflammation WITHOUT performing extractions only works for short periods of time, and tends to worsen the long-term prognosis in cats with FCGS. If your cat has been diagnosed with FCGS, it is important to proceed with the extraction of the premolar and molar teeth as soon as is feasible to give them the best prognosis. The longer the inflammation is allowed to continue, and the farther back in the mouth inflammation spreads, the slower and less complete the recovery from surgery.
Excellent pain management following surgery ensures most cats are fully recovered in 7 to 14 days. However, resolution of the inflammation may take up to 4-8 weeks. For that small subset of cats that do not respond to extractions, there are still options for treatment and ongoing management. FCGS can be a frustrating and expensive diagnosis that is why we are dedicated to helping you understand this disease and help treat your cat.
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OUR DENTISTRY TEAM
Meet Our Dentistry Team
Brace yourself. We are a team like no other. No fill-ins or tooth faries here, just vets who like the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth. Our patients can't read our plaques. Molar bears, vampurrs and canines, we'll treat them all. A functional, pain-free mouth for your pet is our floss-ophy. You know the drill.... click on the link and check us out...let's see if we can get to the root of your pet's problems. It might just be love at first bite.
Specialties & Services
Veterinary Referral & Emergency Services