Dental Care For Our Pets

It is estimated that 85% of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years old. Even with regular brushing, we should be visiting our dentist every 6 months. Same for our beloved pets.

Periodontal disease

Bacteria combines with food particles to form plaque on the teeth. Minerals in the saliva bond with plaque to form tartar. The bacteria works its way under the gums, causing gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and destroys the supporting tissue around the tooth, leading to tooth loss. The bacteria can also travel in the bloodstream to infect the heart, kidneys and lungs.


A professional veterinary dental cleaning is the best way to remove plaque & tartar from your pet’s teeth, below the gum line & check the overall dental health.

How Do I Know if My Pet Needs Dental Cleaning?

Our pets are very good at hiding pain. You may not know if your dog or cat is suffering from a painful dental disease. Regular inspection of your pet’s mouth is important to catch dental disease in early stages. Signs of dental disease include:

  • bad breath
  • red and swollen gums
  • tartar buildup
  • bleeding along gumline
  • excessive drooling
  • pawing at mouth
  • difficulty picking up food and eating

What Are the Benefits of Dental Cleaning?

A professional dental cleaning, performed under general anaesthesia, removes plaque and tartar on teeth surfaces and bacteria under the gums. This prevents infection to the mouth and other organs, and protects your pet from pain and tooth loss.

can my pet’s dental be done without anaesthesia?

Even when we brush our teeth twice daily and our teeth look healthy, our dentist still needs to remove plaque and tartar from below our gum line during our 6-monthly dental. Without general anaesthesia, it is not possible to ensure that tartar is completely and safely removed from below our pet’s gum line and from their back teeth.

* Pet dental should only be performed by trained veterinary professionals to prevent injury, infection and tooth fractures.

is general anaesthesia safe for my pet?

Modern veterinary anaesthesia is considered very safe. The risk of losing an animal under anaesthesia while going through routine procedures, such as dental and sterilisation, is very low. Read more about general anaesthesia if you are concerned.


Anaesthetic drugs are processed & removed by the liver & kidney. Pre-anaesthetic blood testing is important before any dental or surgical procedures, especially in senior pets, to rule out underlying health issues & determine the safest dose & type of anaesthetic drug to use.

how can i Keep My Pet’s Teeth Clean?

Left untreated, gingivitis and plaque will worsen over time. Your pet will eventually develop cavities, gingival recession, bacterial contamination, loose teeth and root exposure. This can be painful for your pets and also more difficult and expensive to treat. Regular at-home dental care and a 6-monthly dental check by your vet is the best way to maintain your pet’s dental health!

  • Get your dog or cat used to brushing from a very young age.
  • Use pet-appropriate toothpaste and toothbrush.
  • Feed good quality pet food.
  • Provide safe and good quality chew toys.
  • Oral rinses may help decrease plaque. Speak to your vet about safe dental products.

Watch out for details on our june dental month & annual photo contest! #mountpleasantbrightestsmiles 


Alfie & Bentlie: Guinea Pig Overgrown Teeth

A guinea pig has 20 open-rooted teeth which never stop growing. Maloccluded (overgrown and misaligned) teeth can cause serious problems. Bring your guinea pig to the vet if you notice signs of malocclusion:

  • decreased appetite
  • preference of soft foods over hard foods
  • weight loss
  • excessive drooling
  • tooth grinding
  • facial abscesses

Alfie & Bentlie, both 5 years old with maloccluded teeth, are here for dental treatment with Dr Sarah Wong, Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East).

Another little patient Xiao Bai having a general health check by Dr Ng Yilin before his dental

Teeth overgrow due to various reasons like illness, improper diet or genetics.


Unlike dogs & cats, guinea pigs do not vomit. There is no need to withhold food or water before general anaesthesia.


Before filing: When front incisors are not evenly lined up (chipped or overgrown), it is difficult for your guinea pig to pick up & gnaw food. Overgrown teeth can also cause painful injuries to the mouth.


After filing: Overgrown teeth are filed with specialised equipment. They should not be filed too short (just enough to avoid contact with lower gums or roof of mouth), otherwise your guinea pig will have problems picking up food.


It is very difficult for owners to examine their guinea pig’s back teeth because of buccal pads (cheek pads) which block the view. Using buccal pad separators & a lighted scope, Dr Sarah Wong is able to see that Alfie’s lower molars are growing towards the centre, creating a bridge over the tongue. If the tongue is eventually trapped by overgrown molars, it will be difficult or impossible for Alfie to swallow.

A close-up view of Xiao Bai’s overgrown back teeth (cheek teeth)


While lower molars tend to overgrow inwards, upper molars tend to overgrow outwards towards the cheeks. The sharp spurs can cause painful sores inside the mouth if they are not filed down. Alfie & Bentlie’s malocclusion is believed to be genetic. They may require dental treatment every few months.

some tips to prevent malocclusion:
  • WEEKLY: Weigh your guinea pigs. Weight loss is an early indicator of health problems, including malocclusion.
  • WEEKLY: Examine the incisors (front teeth). Make sure they are not overgrown or chipped.
  • WEEKLY: Feel along the jaw lines . Check for sensitive areas which might indicate the presence of spurs.
  • DAILY: Feed lots of hay! Guinea pigs need to constantly chew tough fibrous foods like grass hay to wear down their constantly growing teeth. Provide fresh, high quality grass hay (e.g. Timothy hay) throughout the day.