Dentistry At Briar Dawn Vets

Dental Disease

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats. Most animals over the age of 3 will already be showing some signs of dental disease.

Dental disease begins the formation of plaque on the teeth which is caused by a build up of bacteria and food debris. If plaque remains stuck on the surfaces of the teeth, minerals found in your dog or cat’s saliva will harden this plaque into dental calculus – called tartar.

When this hardened tartar starts to build up, it starts to cause damage to the gums, causing swelling, pain and redness or bleeding. This is a condition called gingivitis. Once gingivitis is present, plaque bacteria are able to get under the gum line, and can cause infection. This infection can lead to more pain, and damage to the tooth root.

Once damage to the tooth root has occurred then the tooth will often need removal, and so it is important to try and prevent dental disease from getting to this point.



The best way to prevent tartar from forming on your animals teeth is to reduce the amount of bacteria present in the mouth.
This is best achieved by regular tooth brushing with a toothpaste made specifically for pets.
Acclimatise your pets to the toothpaste gradually before introducing a toothbrush. This will give you the best chance of success.
You can use a soft bristled human toothbrush. Daily brushing is recommended.


STAGE ONE – Veterinary Examination

The first stage of your pets dental work up would be a thorough veterinary examination. One of our qualified veterinarians will examine your pet to see initially whether dental work is required. A full health examination would be carried out to ensure that there are no other concerns before proceeding to stage two.


STAGE TWO – Dental Assessment

If your pet has been diagnosed with dental disease, we must then investigate what needs to be done to make the mouth healthy. The dental assessment involves:
1. Pre-anaesthetic bloods
2. Intravenous fluid therapy
3. Grading of dental disease, based on dental x-rays and clinical examination of your pets mouth under general anaesthetic
4. Scale and polish of all teeth
5. Assessment of which teeth may need to be removed (if any).

dental disease

Severe gingivitis in a cat

STAGE THREE – Extractions

During the assessment, your vet will identify any issues in the mouth. Your pet may be put on medication prior to extractions.
Your pet will come back to us around 2 weeks post assessment for any extractions.
The extraction stage involves:
1.Intravenous fluids and pain relief whilst under general anaesthetic
2.Extraction of any teeth that need removal
3.Possible further radiography if necessary

dental x-ray

Multiple FORL’s or “neck lesions” in a cat

Follow ups

After your pets dental work is completed, our qualified nursing team will discuss dental aftercare with you.
They will organise a follow up appointment with you to check that everything is healing appropriately. Once healed, we will schedule regular check ups with a qualified nurse to keep an eye on things and to support you with advice and tips on how best to keep your pets newly clean teeth in the best shape for as long as possible.