Dental services at Vets4Pets Dunfermline
Dental disease can cause considerable pain and discomfort. Infections that start in the mouth can travel to other parts of the body. Dental disease can also mask the signs of abscesses and tumours in the mouth, meaning that they go undetected for longer than they might otherwise have done.
With dental disease being so common and having seen the often immediate and dramatic changes that dental treatment can make to a patients’ health and quality of life (not to mention that a lot of dental disease is often preventable) it is no wonder that many of the team at Vet4Pets Dunfermline have developed further dentistry skills to improve the service available.
Lead veterinary surgeon and joint owner, Forbes Shaw, has developed a real passion for preventative dental care and has undertaken further training from some of the top dental specialists in both the UK and America. Our nursing team are also developing their dental skills and knowledge with lead nurse and owner, Lauren Millmore, having recently attended further training with the Veterinary Dental Specialists in North Berwick.
A quick guide to how we diagnose and treat dental disease
Unfortunately pets with dental pain rarely show the signs of oral discomfort that we might expect, as refusing food or pawing at the face are typically only seen in very severe cases. The most common signs are subtle behavioural changes, which are easily overlooked or attributed to ageing.
- Abnormal eating, chewing or toy play e.g. favouring one side, avoiding chews or dropping food
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Increased salivation (drooling)
- Changes in behaviour: eating, drinking, sleeping, play, demeanour (such as being grumpy or clingy)
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Red, puffy or bleeding gums
- Tartar (yellow/brown deposits on the teeth)
- Swellings, holes or pus around the face or inside the mouth
- Broken, damaged, missing or discoloured teeth
We only suggest that you check your pet's mouth if is safe to do so, otherwise, let us do it for you by calling us to book a complimentary oral health assessment with one of our vets on 01383 738 796. We’re always happy to help.
An oral health assessment under general anesthetic is carried out by one of our vets, this will confirm whether your pet has dental disease or not.
After the assessment your pet will be put on intravenous fluids to support them through the anesthetic. All teeth are then counted, charted and probed. This is the veterinary equivalent of the routine assessment performed by your dentist at every visit.
The practice recently installed a special dental x-ray unit after learning that, in one study, 50% of cats and dogs that had a dental problem following an oral examination also had additional problems that could only be seen after taking x-rays.
Our unique service includes a dental x-ray of your pet's mouth, this helps to rule out any hidden diseases such as:
- Tooth root abscess
- Unerupted teeth
- Fractured roots
- Tooth resportion
Following the dental assesment, the vet will determine what treatment needs to be carried out and estimate the costs. Treatment may go ahead the same day or be booked in at a later day. Local anesthetic will be used for any extractions required and some more serious cases may be referred for advance treatments.
A scale and polish is when an ultrasonic scaler is used to remove plaque, tartar and bacteria from the teeth, as well as under the gums. This eliminates potential sources of infection to the mouth and other organs which helps to protect pets from pain and tooth loss. Polishing is carried out using a small motorized rubber cup along with an abrasive polishing compound which helps smooth the surface of the teeth.
If your pet has had extractions they will be given pain relief and in some cases antiobiotics to take at home. You will receive advice on brushing teeth, safe chews and toys to use once the gums have healed. You will need a follow up appointment and in this, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions regarding your pet's oral health.
Ruby’s dental story
We noticed Ruby had bad teeth when we found there was lots of tartar and gingivitis (periodontal disease) during a healthcheck for another problem. We discussed this with Rubys owners and advised that it would be best that Ruby should be booked in to get her teeth assessed under general anaesthetic and receive treatment.
During every dental assessment, we not only chart, scale and polish the teeth but we also take screening X-rays of every tooth in the mouth as we know up to 50% of cats and dogs with a visible dental problem could have more dental disease hiding under the gum line. In Ruby’s case we unfortunately found that she had not just one, but four dental abscesses! Poor Ruby must have been in a lot of discomfort but was just being very brave and not letting on that they were bothering her. As a team we discussed how Ruby’s case demonstrated how important screening x-rays are.
Over two separate procedures we extracted 10 teeth in total including the ones affected by dental abscesses and cleaned up all the additional infection allowing her mouth to heal. After her procedures were completed, and we had checked her to make sure her mouth had healed up, we were so happy to hear her owners describe her as now having the energy levels she had when she was a puppy! They were so surprised and happy. She must have been hiding the pain and now her teeth were treated she had her zest for life back. A wonderful outcome with a pain free ‘pup’ and happy owners.
We are extremely proud to be the only veterinary practice in Dunfermline that takes full mouth dental X-rays as part of our complete scale and polish service offering the opportunity to find and treat hidden disease and improve your pets’ health and quality of life.