There are 3 really important things to know about teeth in our pets.
The process of dental disease is as follows and is identical for dogs and cats. After every meal plaque is formed and sticks to the teeth. Unless this is removed by brushing, more plaque will develop every time food is eaten. Over time the plaque hardens to a yellow/brown solid material called tartar.
During this process bacteria build up along the gums and cause inflammation and damage to the gum until the gum disappears allowing bacteria to work down the root loosening the tooth eventually causing a root abscess.
This process can take months, even years and during the entire time the teeth involved are painful. In addition to this bacteria from the mouth are released into the blood stream on a daily basis and this causes extra work for the immune system as well as damaging other organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart.
The photo on the left shows an extreme case of tartar build up. The photo on the right shows what the teeth look like after tartar removal. It is clear to see how much damage the tartar has caused to the gums as a large proportion of gum is missing causing exposure of some of the roots. This is a case where these teeth will be vulnerable forever as they have lost the protection of healthy gum. The teeth on the opposite side of the mouth where much worse and multiple extractions were needed as those teeth had past the point of no return and were not treatable. This dog would have been in pain for months to years in getting to this stage of disease. Also the operating time to treat something like this can be very long and so recovery from something like this not insignificant.
The photo on the left shows a moderate build of tartar on the teeth. The photo on the right shows the teeth after tartar has been removed and the teeth polished. This dog's teeth where cleaned just in time as the disease was at a point that was fully reversible. He now has a healthy mouth that is pain free and as good as new. If this mouth had not been treated at that point he would have progressed to irreversible stage of disease just like the dog above. This dog would have been in moderate pain for a few months prior to this.
This photo shows the perfect time for dental treatment to be done in the form of a scale and polish. Up to this point the dog will only have experienced mild gum pain for a very short period of time unlike the dogs in the moderate and severe category that would have been in pain for much longer.
The procedure to treat this is extremely quick and so operating and anaesthetic time is very short as is the recovery time. We recommend dental treatment to be done at this stage as this is the perfect example of prevention being the only cure.