Common Dental Problems
- Plaque – like humans, our pets can suffer from a buildup of plaque on their teeth. Plaque is a soft sticky deposit that contains millions of bacteria and accumulates on teeth. Daily brushing can easily remove plaque, but if it combines with minerals in saliva and food, it can form into a hard brownish rock-type material, commonly known as tartar.
- Tartar – is very common and can only be removed through scaling and polishing the teeth. In pets, this procedure requires a full general anaesthetic, so we strongly encourage owners to develop a good dental health regime from a young age, to avoid potential dental surgery later in life.
- Gingivitis and other forms of Gum Disease – are particularly common in cats. This is a bacterial infection caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar. The gums become inflamed and sore, leading to the destruction of tissue and the formation of pus in the cavities between the gums and teeth. The infection usually starts with one tooth and, if left untreated, quickly spreads around the mouth.
- Receding gums – if inflamed gums go unnoticed and are not treated, this can quickly snowball to bleeding, sore gums which recede away from the roots of the teeth. Should this occur, the teeth themselves become exposed to infection, potential loss and abscesses.
It is essential to keep an eye on your pet’s teeth to ensure that they remain clean and healthy, and to reduce the risk of costly surgery as your pets grow older.
Recognising Dental Health Problems
Cats can often be reluctant to let us know when there is something wrong – particularly with dental issues. However, there are symptoms that are common to both cats and dogs that owners should be aware of. These include:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Pawing the mouth
- Red, bleeding gums
- Discomfort when eating
- Reduced food intake
- Weight loss
- Less grooming or poor coat quality
If your pet is showing any of these symptoms and you are worried about their dental health, then please contact us straight away.
Remember, we offer free nurse dental checks at the practice so it will cost you nothing to put your mind at ease.