Fun Topic About Veterinary Dentistry

Something of a fun post today! If you have pets, this is worth a read.

Veterinary dentistry focuses on the art and science of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions, diseases, and disorders of the oral cavity, the maxilla-facial region, and its associated structures as it relates to animals.

The Veterinary Dentist is a great website that provides fun facts and videos of the journey and treatment of an extensive range of animals. Cedric Tutt is a Veterinary Dentist and the founder of “The Veterinary Dentist”. Cedric treats domestic animals as well as zoo and wildlife species all around the world.
Visit: for more facts, videos and information about Veterinary Dentistry.

These are some of our favourite facts.

Domesticated and Zoo animals have many of the same dental conditions we do. They suffer from orthodontic abnormalities, gingivitis, fractured teeth, periodontal bone loss, oral tumours and painful cavities. Fortunately, these conditions are treatable using similar techniques and materials found in human dentistry. Animals accumulate plaque and calculus on their teeth like us.

Plaque, which is soft, can be brushed off the teeth, but when it is allowed to accumulate it becomes mineralised to calculus, which is rough and more plaque retentive than the original smooth tooth surface. The plaque results in an inflammatory response known as gingivitis. When plaque has been removed the gums can return to health and assume normal colour rather than redness and bleeding.

Horses cheek teeth grow at about 3mm per year and wear at about the same rate. However, because of the normal wear patterns the upper cheek teeth develop sharp edges facing the cheeks, while the lower cheek teeth develop sharp edges facing the tongue. To prevent injury to these soft tissues the teeth must be trimmed routinely. For some horses, this means annual routine treatment while others need attention more frequently.

Dolphins. These magnificent marine mammals have up to 25-28 teeth in each jaw which means they have a total of 100-112 teeth. All of the teeth have the same shape, although the first and last teeth in each row are
somewhat smaller than the rest. Dolphins often play with toys to keep themselves amused but these toys may be abrasive leading to excessive wear of the teeth.

Red Pandas like their Giant black and white namesakes are indigenous to China, where their diet is mainly bamboo. These animals have been known to develop tooth decay especially when part of the diet provided adheres to the teeth surface where it ferments forming acid.

This acid damages the enamel on the tooth surface enabling bacteria to enter the dentine causing more damage. When seen early enough in the progression of the disease, the decayed material can be removed, and a dental filling placed to protect the rest of the tooth.

Puppies have 28 teeth and adult dogs 42 teeth. Periodontitis becomes more prevalent with increasing age and therefore it is essential to begin brushing your dog’s teeth while it is still a puppy. Brushing keeps the gums healthy.

Kittens have 26 teeth and adult cats have 30 teeth. Cats have no grinding teeth – only cutting teeth. They are true carnivores and live on a mainly meat diet. Tooth resorption is commonly seen in cats, with prevalence increasing with age.

Rabbits are herbivores which spend 99% of their time in the wild, foraging and eating grass. Their teeth erupt continuously (up to 2 mm per week) but are worn at the same rate when eating grass. Hay can be fed but fresh grass is better.

Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas, rats and hamsters are rodents, but their tooth types differ: Guinea pigs and Chinchillas have continuously erupting incisors and cheek teeth. Rats and hamsters have continuously erupting incisors but short crowned, long-rooted cheek teeth.

If you are concerned about your pet’s teeth, visit your veterinarian who may refer you to a specialist animal dentist if complex treatment is needed. There are two specialist veterinarian dentists in Melbourne.