A veterinary dental specialist is a veterinarian who has specialized in preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases related to the mouth and jaws of animals. Basically, it’s a dentist for animals that may perform services such as root canal, oral surgery, gum disease surgery, implants, crowns, bridges, and even orthodontics! Veterinary dentistry is a recognized specialty in the United States, as well as other countries, where the dental services provided to animals are very similar to the ones that dentists appoint to humans.
Veterinary dentistry may also cover jaw fractures, oral radiology, oral cancers, as well as conditions unique to animals such as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (resorption of cats’ teeth).
Animals, mostly mammals, may have oral diseases just like humans. An oral exam should be part of a routine health exam when doing a physical examination. Usually the animal is under general anaesthesia for the oral exam, because if conscious, the exam could not be performed thoroughly by the veterinarian, and most information would be missed.
When the animal feels pain, it could not be expressed like a human being, therefore the veterinarian conducts a full body exam. Also even if the problem is in the mouth, it could be a consequence of another systemic disease. Therefore when pain is suspected, it is important to make a full physical examination.
There are some signs of oral problems that the pet owners can look for:
- soft tissue injury;
- facial swelling;
- nasal discharge;
- bad breath;
- broken or discoloured teeth;
- changes of eating behaviour;
- rubbing of paw on the face;
- bleeding from the mouth;
- inability to open the mouth;
- weight loss;
- change of attitude;
- neurological symptoms.
The information above should be used as a reference only. Any medical decision should not be taken before consulting a health care professional.
The masculine gender may have been more used in the article, but without prejudice, to make reading easier.