Dentistry & Oral Surgical Procedures
Some examples of the services we provide (all of which include an oral examination) are:
- Periodontics (treatment for oral infections)
- Prosthodontics and Restoratives (eg. application of metal crowns and filling tooth defects)
- Endodontics (eg. root canals)
- Orthodontics (eg. alleviate traumatic bites)
- Oral Surgery (eg. extractions, biopsies, tumour excision)
- Traumatic Injuries (eg. fracture repair)
- Biopsy and Surgery for Oral Tumours
Board-Certified Veterinary Dentistry Specialist
Dr. Lorraine Hiscox, DVM FAVD Dip. AVDC is available Monday to Thursday.
Dental Diseases in Dogs & Cats
Periodontal disease (disease of the tissues surrounding the teeth) is the most common infection experienced by our pets. More than just bad breath, there is associated pain and discomfort. It is often misdiagnosed or missed completely given the challenges of performing a complete oral health exam on an awake patient.
Research has shown that both dogs and cats have some form of oral disease by 2-3 years of age. Additionally, without intra-oral radiographs which require your pet to be anaesthetized we are missing much, much more. In larger breeds of dogs who are admittedly at less risk for periodontal disease, tumours that are often curable when caught early are missed without regular oral examinations.
We look forward to helping you establish a routine that ensures a healthy, pain-free mouth for your pet.
Specialized Dentistry FAQs
What happens at your pet’s oral health referral appointment?
Typically, prior to the oral referral consultation, the Dentistry Service would have received your pet’s health summary from your family veterinarian. Dr. Hiscox will review the information provided along with the results of any relevant diagnostic tests. A dentistry team member would have also sent you a pre-consultation questionnaire to complete and return - well in advance of your appointment.
During the consultation, we will review and confirm the information we have received to avoid any misinterpretation. Dr. Hiscox will then perform what we refer to as an “awake or conscious” examination of your pet. This examination is necessary in order to obtain an overview of your pet’s oral health and to verify the reason for the referral.
Questions are asked and answered from both sides. Dr. Hiscox will then provide a written summary of the consultation along with an estimate for any recommended services and/or procedures. You do not need to feel obligated to schedule anything at the initial consultation unless you are ready to do so. You may have additional questions once you return home and have had a chance to digest the consultation summary and recommendations. We will advise on the best way to contact us for further information should you require it.
Our goal is to provide as much information as you require to enable you to make an informed decision regarding your pet’s oral health.
Do you offer surgical procedures?
There are many procedures available through our Dentistry Service. As it happens, most dental procedures require some form of surgery. Unfortunately, it is a rare occurrence when the pets we see require a simple dental cleaning (prophylaxis). This is because, typically, if you have been referred to us it is because there is already an existing oral health problem of some sort.
How do you diagnose dental disease?
There are many different dental and/or oral diseases – not just periodontal disease which is the most common infection (of any kind) our pets suffer from.
We start with an awake oral health exam (see above) which provides a general overview as well as information on your pet's occlusion (their natural bite). It is important to understand, however, that a total oral health exam cannot be completed in an awake patient. A general anaesthetic is required so that we can perform a full oral examination using a dental probe and explorer to examine the tooth and supportive tissues more accurately. Additionally, we inspect the entire oral cavity for any abnormalities (tongue, lips, cheeks, back of the mouth etc).
We obtain intra-oral radiographs, which cannot be done in an awake or even in a sedated patient. Intra-oral radiographs provide information that cannot be visualized with the naked eye. In some instances, even intra-oral radiographs are insufficient for the additional detail we require and instead need to be obtained through advanced imaging such as CT (computed tomography) or a CBCT (cone beam computed tomography).
Do you treat endodontic or pulp disease in pets?
Yes, endodontic therapies (typically root canal or vital pulp therapy) comprise the more common procedures performed in veterinary dentistry on a daily basis.
What are the tooth restoration options?
Once we have examined your pet and can appreciate their specific restorative needs, we can discuss what options exist. This is done on a case-by-case basis as not all restorative requirements are the same.
Is there a way to better align my pet’s teeth?
Malocclusions are common in our pets. Typically, our goal is to provide your pet with relief from any pain or discomfort they may be experiencing as a result of a malocclusion.
Having said that, not all malocclusions require treatment. If they have a pain-free functional bite then treatment may not be necessary. It is also possible that a malocclusion may be problematic not only in the pediatric patient as a result of “baby” teeth but the problem may re-present itself with the adult dentition, necessitating more than one procedure.
It is important to understand that while photographs of a malocclusion may provide some useful information an in-person assessment must be performed to fully appreciate the malocclusion and determine what options might exist to address it.
What happens after my pet’s procedure?
Details on how to prepare your pet for a procedure as well as what to expect on the day of the procedure (i.e., admission time, discharge timing and instructions for post-operative homecare) will be provided. We will also review how to contact us after you leave with your pet and what to do if you notice something that concerns you.
A Dentistry Service team member will contact you within 24 hours of discharge to see how your pet is recovering and answer any questions you may have at that point. They will also schedule a courtesy recheck appointment.
I am nervous about my pet undergoing a general anaesthetic – can you make me feel more comfortable?
This is a very natural reaction to hearing that your pet will need to be anaesthetized – whatever the reason.
If the Dentistry Service has recommended a procedure requiring a general anaesthetic then your pet’s history and diagnostic results are forwarded to a Board-Certified Veterinary Anaesthesiologist for review and for the development of an appropriate customized anaesthetic protocol. You will see a fee in the estimate provided to you after your consultation, reflecting the involvement of the anaesthesiologist.
Once you have scheduled a procedure with our Service, we will also provide recommendations as to how to best prepare your pet for a general anaesthetic including recommendations for anti-nausea medications and sedatives to relax your pet and minimize their stress.
On the day of your pet’s procedure, the provided protocol will be followed by the Dentistry Team. Additionally, the anaesthesiologist will be available remotely to provide delivery of custom care for your pet. The Dentistry Team will be using monitoring equipment that can be viewed directly by the anaesthesiologist so that real-time assessments and adjustments can be made if required. We hope this approach to your pet’s care will help to alleviate your concerns.