Preventative dental care: educating the client

01 September 2011
12 mins read
Volume 2 · Issue 7


Many pets seen every day in general practice have dental diseases requiring treatment. Most owners are unaware that their pet has a problem so it is up to veterinary professionals to recognize and treat these diseases to ensure that pets have an infection free and pain free mouth.

The role of the veterinary nurse is vital in educating clients about dental problems and helping to prevent them occurring, or helping to prevent the disease progressing further. This article discuss common dental diseases and how the nurse can get the owner engaged in dental clinics

Many pets seen in every day veterinary practice have dental disease requiring treatment. It has been estimated that approximately 80% of dogs and cats demonstrate a degree of periodontal disease by 4 years of age (Harvey and Emily, 1993) Most owners are unaware that their pet has a problem, so often dental problems go undiagnosed. The role of the veterinary nurse is vital in educating clients to recognize disease but also to help institute and maintain oral hygiene programmes. Early intervention is the key to a pain free and infection free mouth.

Education is the cornerstone of preventative dental care. In order for the veterinary nurse to educate and inform clients a working knowledge of common dental diseases, disorders and problems is vital.

Periodontal disease is the most common disease affecting dog and cats. Up to 80% of animals over the age of three are affected by periodontal disease (Lund et al, 1999). Periodontal disease is an inflammatory and destructive condition which affects the supporting structures of the tooth (the periodontium). The cause is dental plaque but other factors, such as the host immune response, should be taken into consideration when trying to control and manage the disease.

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