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Mon - Fri: 8am - 7pm
Sat: 8am - 2pm
Sun: Closed

Mon - Fri: 8am - 7pm
Sat: 8am - 2pm
Sun: Closed
3 Maroondah Highway, Lilydale, VIC 3140
Open 24/7
619 Whitehorse RD, Mitcham

Dental Disease Paw Print

Dog Dentist
Dental Disease

Periodontal disease is the most common disease seen in dogs and cats, with 80% of animals over 3 years of age exhibiting some signs of dental disease. Bacteria attach to the outside of the teeth in a film called plaque. Over time the bacteria cause inflammation in the adjacent gums, and the saliva promotes a hardening of the plaque into calculus, unless it is removed regularly (i.e. by brushing of the teeth). Ultimately the bacteria migrate into the ligament attaching the tooth into the bone, causing bone loss, loosening of teeth, and infection/abscess. The bacteria are also the reason for bad breath in the dog.

Sometimes a dental procedure will also be recommended if a tooth is broken or damaged. Apart from the procedure outlined below, we may be able to perform advanced procedures such as root canal treatment, or pulp capping to save a damaged tooth.

The Procedure

The dental procedure must be done under a general anaesthetic, and first involves cleaning of all the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler. The vet will then assess the teeth to evaluate the degree of gum recession, loosening, and infection. Teeth which are not viable are removed – for this we use our top of the range dental machine with high speed drills, etc. Large root sockets are closed with dissolvable sutures, and the remaining teeth are polished with fluoride paste.

Immediate After-Care

Pets are able to go home the day of the procedure, following a few hours recovery from the anaesthetic. Often animals will be a little sleepy, and occasionally may vomit or cough. It is best to offer the animal small sips of water, and a smaller evening meal than usual to make sure they are over the effects of the anaesthetic.

When teeth have been removed we recommend soft food for a few days afterwards to promote healing. The best food is diced meat (chicken or red meat) as there are no small particles to get stuck in empty sockets etc.

You may need to give your pet oral medications (pills or drops) for pain relief or to control infection for up to 7 days following the dental. Call the clinic if you have any concerns or questions.

Long Term Dental Health

It is vital to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy following the procedure. There are several means of keeping teeth in good health and include: feeding food designed for dental disease such as Royal Canin Dental, brushing your pet’s teeth with a finger brush and flavoured paste, applying gels such as Dentafresh to the teeth and gums or adding “healthy mouth” solution to the drinking water. These methods use mechanical action to remove plaque from teeth, or chemical action to stop tartar forming, or both.

We do recommend feeding RAW bones of an appropriate size, although you must be wary as teeth can be chipped on bones. It is preferable if a dog gets used to chewing bones from a puppy age, as they will tend to chew more sensibly. If you are asking a butcher to cut a bone in half, cut it along the short axis, not the length of the bone. This means there will be fewer sharp corners to damage teeth on.

Estimate of Costs

It is best for us to examine the pet’s mouth to provide you will a fairly specific estimate. Costs involved depend on the species, age and size of the animal, and the severity of the dental disease. There may be ways we can minimse costs for a given individual. There may also be occasions where your pet requires a more protracted/advanced procedure which could be more costly, but we will discuss this at the initial consultation.

Included in what we quote you will be hospitalisation, general anaesthesia, blood test if required, IV Fluids (drip), if medications are required: injectable pain relief, take home pain relief, antibiotics.


The majority of the dental procedures we perform are on animals whose dental disease has already progressed to a significant stage. Vets grade periodontal disease on a scale of 0 (normal healthy teeth) to 4 (severe). Animals with a higher degree of disease are likely to need teeth removed.

In more modern times, we are doing a lot of procedures earlier on – more of a preventative procedure (prophylaxis). If an animal only has Grade 1 or 2 tartar, they usually need no extractions, the procedure is a lot quicker, the depth of anaesthesia is less as there is no pain stimulus, and they do not need follow-up medication. For these reasons we also offer prophylactic procedures at a discounted cost. It makes a lot more sense to do this sort of procedure more regularly and avoid the need to have teeth taken out, than to wait until the teeth get worse and the animal is in pain. A lot of animals hide chronic pain very well. Having tartar in the mouth all the time is effectively having bacteria and infection sitting there, which also poses a risk to the general health: in particular, heart, kidney and liver disease have all been linked with dental disease in pets (as well as people).

If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to call us on 03 9752 1001.

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