Missy’s visit from the Tooth Fairy
Lovely little 11 year old Missy the Mini-Schnauzer is loving life after the last of her teeth were extracted. Yes, you heard right; no teefies, no problem!
Missy’s family adopted her as a young adult and it is unclear what dental prevention had been attempted from puppyhood. Unfortunately she required a lot of dental extractions because her teeth were too rotten to save. But not phasing Missy, she said “ta-ta” to nearly all her teeth and only the four large canines remained.
Did you know puppies shed their deciduous (baby) teeth just like us and the adult canine has a total of 42 mature teeth?
With ONLY four teeth remaining (no molars, no incisors, no pre-molars), Missy’s ‘meat-tearing’ canines didn’t get much of a workout during mealtime, and therefore, biofilm (plaque) easily flourished. The plaque created on Missy’s teeth (often a white substance you can scratch off your own ‘furry’ teeth if you forgot to brush them the night before) causes changes within the gums in less than 12 hours! This is why our dentists tell us to brush our teeth twice a day.
How many pets do you know that brush their teeth twice daily?
It's no surprise that over 80% of pets suffer dental disease, since it doesn’t take long for plaque to start to mineralise (harden, like concrete) and firmly stick to the surface of the teeth. Where plaque and calculus do the most damage is where we can’t see – under the gum or the ‘subgingival space’. Once established, it causes infection, loosening of the ligaments around the tooth and can be very painful.
Did you know most dogs and cats show NO signs of dental disease? They can therefore be in a lot of pain and have no way of telling us!
Luckily, Missy’s family were current with her health checks and prepared to have her dental surgery scheduled once it was discovered by the vet how bad her teeth were. After a straightforward procedure, Missy’s family are so pleased with the outcome.
As dental disease is gradual, the outward signs of pain can be mistaken for old age, or slowing down. It is often only after painful mouths are fixed does it become obvious that they were living in chronic pain. Missy’s benefit from surgery was instantaneous – she was brighter and wolfing down food the same night as her procedure. Missy’s dad told us “She has so much energy, is more playful, we didn’t realise she was in so much pain!” We are so happy to have played a role in improving Missy’s quality of life and look forward to her next visit with a spring in her step.