Preventative dentistry chapter
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Taking the History


Taking the history is the first part of any clinical examination. The owner is your eyes and ears and the patient's voice. You need to determine the following:

  Vet talking to owner



Oral problems are more common as the animal ages. You should also watch out for difficulties as the dentition changes from deciduous to permanent.


Brachycepahlic type skulls and small breeds tend to have the most problems, often due to tooth crowding. Determine if the animal is pedigree or cross breed. Certain breeds have a predilection for dental disease, for example Maltese terriers and Greyhounds.


Prepubertal neutering may have a role in Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORLs) and in susceptibility to certain metabolic diseases.


  • Vaccinal status
  • Diet
  • Possible behaviour changes
  • Home environment - house or yard?
  • Pet or working animal?

Presenting Signs

  • Possible weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Halitosis
  • Dysphagia
  • Salivation abnormality (too little, too much, too viscous, stained with discharge)
  • Retching or vomiting
  • Regurgitation
  • Chattering jaws
  • Inability or difficulty to close or open mouth
  • Facial swelling or disfigurement.


  • Previous dental procedures? When and what done? Chart available?
  • Present and previous level of homecare.



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