Deciphering Veterinary Dental Terminology: A Guide for Beginners

two cats looking up at owner

Deciphering Veterinary Dental Terminology: A Guide for Beginners

Welcome to our beginner’s guide to veterinary dental terminology! If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head at the complicated jargon used by veterinarians when discussing your pet’s dental health, fear not – you’re not alone. In this blog post, we’ll break down some common dental terms in plain and simple language, so you can better understand what your vet is talking about and how to care for your pet’s teeth.

Breaking Down 10 Veterinary Dental Terms

1. Plaque

Let’s start with the basics. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. It’s like the slimy coating you feel on your teeth when you wake up in the morning.


2. Tartar (Dental Calculus)

When plaque isn’t removed, it hardens into tartar, also known as dental calculus. Tartar is like the concrete version of plaque – hard, crusty, and much more difficult to remove.


3. Gingivitis

This term refers to inflammation of the gums. Just like in humans, gingivitis in pets can cause redness, swelling, and bleeding along the gumline.


4. Periodontal Disease

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. This can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems if not addressed.


5. Dental Prophylaxis

This is a professional dental cleaning performed by a veterinarian under anesthesia. It involves removing plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the teeth and below the gumline.


6. Extraction

Sometimes, a tooth may need to be removed due to severe decay, damage, or infection. This procedure is called an extraction.


7. Root Canal

Just like in human dentistry, a root canal in veterinary dentistry involves removing the infected or damaged pulp from inside a tooth and filling it to prevent further infection.


8. Orthodontics

While not as common in pets as in humans, orthodontic procedures can be performed to correct misaligned teeth or bite problems.


9. Endodontics

This branch of dentistry deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the dental pulp and root tissues.


10. Crown

In veterinary dentistry, a crown is a cover placed over a damaged or weakened tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength.


The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene for Pets

Remember, maintaining good dental hygiene is essential for your pet’s overall health and well-being. Regular brushing, dental check-ups, and professional cleanings can help prevent dental problems and keep your furry friend smiling bright!


Consult a Veterinary Dental Specialist in Milwaukee

We hope this beginner’s guide to veterinary dental terminology has helped explain some of the confusing terms you may encounter at the vet’s office. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, feel free to reach out to your veterinarian or vet dental specialist – we are always happy to help!


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/12/2024). Photo by Kelly on Unsplash