The Veterinary Centre

Henley and Twyford

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Long term locum vet
Part time weekend vet
Qualified Veterinary Nurse
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Dental disease is extremely common in dogs, cats and rabbits with 1 in 3 pets being affected by the age of five. We can advise and help with preventive dental care and also treat existing problems, from mild gingivitis to advanced periodontal disease and worse.
Animals are very stoical about dental disease and pain and so owners may be slow to pick up on it. They almost never stop eating and rarely show overt signs of being in pain but that does not mean that it is not making them miserable. We like to check an animal's teeth at each annual MOT and in our “Fit for Life” appointments - there are only very few animals so cantankerous that we cannot get a reasonable look in their mouths.
When we recommend dentistry, people are often reluctant because of the need for a general anaesthetic. Once we have convinced them that anaesthetics are now extremely safe even for very elderly pets, and we have carried out the necessary remedial work, one of the commonest owner reactions at the post-dental check up a few days later is “He/She is like a new Dog/Cat”. It is as though freedom from mouth pain and chronic infection has made them feel years younger again!
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Dental disease is extremely common in dogs, cats and rabbits with 1 in 3 pets being affected by the age of five. We are very keen on prevention of dental disease and can do much to help and advise you on this subject but, once it has occurred, we are well-equipped to deal with it.


Almost all animal dentistry is carried out under general anaesthetic (lucky things!) because they will not readily comply with the instruction to “keep still and open your mouth wide”. The risk of doing accidental damage to delicate gums, not to mention vet's and nurse's fingers, is just too great in even the most placid and obliging creatures. If we are planning dentistry on an older patient, or one with pre-existing disease, we may want to run some blood tests before we anaesthetise them and possibly put them on an intravenous drip throughout the procedure.


Once safely anaesthetised, and the airway protected by an endotracheal tube, we can scale and polish their teeth to perfection. We will extract any teeth that are beyond saving but ideally we will have intervened early enough to make extractions unnecessary. We take the opportunity of giving the animals mouth and throat a thorough inspection and occasionally we spot something unexpected, such as an oral tumour – early detection could be life-saving. Some patients will go home on antibiotics to mop up residual peridontal infection and some will need painkillers if they have had major extractions.


At the post-dental check up our nurses will advise on oral hygiene and preventive dental health care.


Veterinary Nurse Alix using our dental machine.

Using the high speed drill to divide a fractured premolar between its two roots for easier extraction.

In these pictures Veterinary Nurse Alix is using the ultrasonic scaler to clean the teeth of a three year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Build up of plaque and tartar was already starting to cause gum recession at this early age

For those of you interested in the technicalities!

Our “state of the art” dental machine has two main components. The main unit is compressor driven with 3 hand-pieces – a high-speed drill with a fibre optic light source (which greatly improves visibility within the mouth), a low speed polisher and an air and water flush hand-piece.

The separate ultrasonic scaler is a joy to use and allows us to complete dentals much more quickly than previous models, thereby saving anaesthetic time for the patients. It has five power settings and can be safely used under the delicate gum margins to clean tartar and plaque from this hidden area.

We recently upgraded our rabbit dental kit with a variety of equipment for the low speed hand-piece, including a diamond burr for filing molar teeth and a diamond disc for incisors.




Henley Vets and Twyford Vets
The Veterinary Centre: 271 Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1EL - Phone 01491 574490
Also at Twycombe Lodge, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, RG10 9JA - Phone 0118 934 0259