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Dental Care for Dogs

Dogs can develop dental problems at any age

Dogs and cats can develop dental problems at any age and many over six years of age have some degree of dental disease.

The cause of teeth problems can range from mild gingivitis where the gums look red, to severe periodontitis where teeth are covered in scale and some teeth may have abscesses in their roots.

Dental disease can be put into three categories:

  • Gingivitis
  • Pyorrhoea
  • Tartar


Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. You can easily see this by the increase in the pinkness of your dog’s gums, especially at the gum line.


Pyorrhoea is the most serious – it is pus in the mouth, usually between the teeth and the gums. Not only does it cause decay and bad breath but the bacteria may enter the blood and travel to other parts of the body causing more serious problems. The liver, kidney and heart are commonly affected. We treat these conditions because they are actual infections.


Tartar is the accumulation of plaque on the teeth, usually starting at the gum line in conjunction with gingivitis.

Why does my pet need a scale and polish under anaesthetic?

Once visible tartar has formed on the gum line, this means that there is disease under the gum as well. This needs to be specially removed. It is time for a professional cleaning – do not wait.

Anaesthesia is necessary when performing teeth cleaning. It enables us to clean beneath the gum line, gives pain control, and we place a tube into the windpipe, to ensure that bacteria do not get into the lungs.

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