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Teeth & Dental Treatment

Most dogs and cats will require dental treatment at some point throughout their lifetime.

The use of products like a pet toothpaste and brush, additives to their water bowls or similar products can all help reduce the extent of dental disease and ideally should be started from a young age so your pet is accustomed to having their teeth brushed etc.

When your pet does require a dental this will involve a full anaesthetic for your pet so the vet and nurse can fully examine all the teeth, clean them with an ultrasonic cleaner and extract any damaged teeth.

  • Red swollen gums (gingivitus)

  • Gums prone to bleeding

  • Moderate calculus build-up

  • Halitosis (Bad breath)


Typical scenario for a dog, aged 3+ prior to dental treatment.

The photos on the left show what a dogs teeth could look like when they are 3+ years old and have had no treatment, either at home or at the vets.

  • Plaque can build up within hours on a clean tooth, and can cause gingivitis within 48 hours.

  • Undisturbed plaque can mineralise to form calculus within days.

  • Calculus then provides a rough surface facilitating plaque accumulation.

  • If home cleaning or similar care had been taken from a young age this could have been prevented in most cases.

Progression 9 - 12 months from the above photos if no treatment is given.

  • If no treatment is performed accumulation of calculus will occur along side a worsening of periodontitis, with further loss of the supporting structure of the tooth.

  • These changes can occur within 6 months in high risk breeds, especially small breed dogs.

  • Marked gingivitis

  • Visible gingival recession

  • Moderate calculus accumulation

  • Marked halitosis (Bad breath)

  • Marked gingival (Gum) recession.

  • Grade 3 furcation exposure'through & through' (a) (b) is the exposed gap between the tooth and the gums.

  • Periodeontal probing (photo to the right) shows the vet how healthy the gums are, the further in the probe goes the more severe the dental disease.


Photos show teeth after a scale and polish procedure has been performed.

  • The extent of attachment loss has worsened (as indicated by (a) & (b)) due to the lack of dental home care and even though a scale and polish procedure has been performed for home care would be required.

Long term dental disease with no treatment carried out.

No regular periodontal treatment or home care ultimately results in tooth loss. As well as advanced periodontitis (dental disease) resulting in extreme discomfort and pain, other organ systems in the body may be detrimentally affected.

  • In many small breed dogs this rapid progression in periodontal disease may occur within a year.

  • In many large breed dogs this progression in periodontal disease may occur within 3 years - In certain breeds, e.g Greyhounds, the progression may be more rapid.

  • Severe gingivitis and ulceration

  • Heavy calculus accumulation - most teeth

  • Missing teeth

  • Mobile (loose) teeth

  • Extreme halitosis

Riverside Veterinary Surgery - Independant Veterinary Practice in Grays, Essex
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