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Dental disease causes bad breath and pain, it is also a source of infection and can make your pet seriously ill.

Statistics show over 80% of Dogs and 70% of Cats show signs of periodontal disease by the age of three.

Dental disease is preventable in most cases by maintaining good oral hygiene in your pet with appropriate food, brushing your pet’s teeth and other specific products.

Here at Northern Suburbs Veterinary Hospitals we offer FREE dental checks to determine if your pet needs further treatment such as scaling/polishing, tooth extraction, or diagnostic imaging. This treatment involves a general anaesthetic and a full dental examination including charting and imaging. All similar procedures used by your own dentist.

We have a digital dental x-ray machine which can see what is happening below the gum line, over 2/3’s of a tooth is below the gum line and not visible.

Digital radiography is indicated for the following:

Periodontal disease: to show elucidate pockets, in cats and toy breed dogs to avoid iatrogenic fractures during extractions.
Tooth Resorption: Resorption makes extraction very difficult, if roots have not been resorbed a complete extraction must be performed and the x-ray gives a guide.
Endodontic Disease: The most common is camouflaged endodontic disease where the dentin but not the pulp is exposed. These painful infections cannot be diagnosed without dental radiographs.
Missing Crown: Is the whole tooth missing or there is a retained root still present causing infection.
Other indications: To confirm diagnosis of a jaw fracture, oral growths/masses, investigate sources of oral pain, extraction of deciduous teeth to determine root structure and pre/post extraction x-rays. We can all relate to dental pain and wouldn’t want to put our furry family through this unnecessarily.

Good teeth



Fractured teeth are a very common occurrence in our pets, especially large breed dogs. This is because they tend to be more orally active and chew on hard things which break their teeth. This may be due to trauma, chewing stones or general breakages.  Any tooth may break however some are more commonly fractured than others, such as the canine (fang) teeth and the upper fourth premolar.

Regardless of how a tooth breaks or cracks, chances are the nerve of the tooth will be exposed causing a great deal of pain and discomfort.  An exposed nerve is hypersensitive to temperature, especially cold and the teeth require attention. When the nerve is directly exposed, it is called a complicated or open crown fracture. If your pet has an exposed nerve, bonded sealants are not indicated. Root canal therapy or extractions are the only real options for a tooth with direct pulp exposure.

In contrast, teeth which have been fractured without direct pulp exposure are termed uncomplicated or closed crown fractures. These fractures remove the enamel and expose the underlying tooth structure called dentin. In our experience many large breed dogs have at least a few teeth with dentin exposure. Dentin is a living structure with a significant nervous supply. Dentin exposure results in sensitivity akin to the pain we feel with a deep cavity. In addition, the root canal system can become infected through small tubes (called dentinal tubules) which run from the root canal to the enamel. Finally, the exposed tooth surface is much rougher than the normal enamel, and therefore plaque and tartar accumulation is enhanced, hastening the onset of irreversible periodontal disease.  For these reasons, we strongly recommend a bonded sealant on all fractured teeth without pulp exposure. 

In short, a bonded sealant will:

  • Reduce sensitivity (pain)
  • Block off the pathway for infection
  • Smooth the tooth to decrease periodontal disease
  • Improve cosmetic appearance of a tooth

Bonded sealants are a relatively easy and inexpensive treatment. Prior to performing the sealant, a dental x-ray must be taken to make sure the tooth is not already infected. If the radiograph is normal, the bonded sealant can be applied.  These sealants generally have longevity, unless the tooth re-fractures.  Follow-up radiographs should be taken in 1 year to evaluate the health of the pulp and to ensure the continuous viability of the tooth.

Keep in mind we do free dental checks in clinic, all year round, by appointment.