Pearly Whites

Google Maps location for Frankston Heights Veterinary Centre

Frankston Heights Veterinary Centre
231 Frankston-Flinders Rd
VIC 3199

03 5971 4888
03 5971 4887

“Bad teeth” and “Bad breath” are two of the most common problems that we see in dogs and cats, they are also two of the easiest problems to ignore. Maybe people’s fear of dentists can be transferred to their pets too.

We score oral health into one of five “grades”, numbered 0 to 4. A young puppy’s mouth, with newly erupted teeth would score a zero, while a seriously diseased mouth with loose damaged teeth, exposed roots and bleeding gums would score a four.

Most of our patients have either a grade 1 or 2 mouth. Grade 1 teeth have tartar accumulation only, the presence of early gum disease (gingivitis) would make it a Grade 2 mouth. This distinction is important because it marks the difference between a healthy, but dirty, mouth and a diseased one. A mouth with gum and tooth disease (sometimes called periodontal disease) is always uncomfortable, and often painful. A diseased mouth harbours large numbers of bacteria, which can cause infections, not only in the mouth, but also elsewhere in the body (kidneys, heart, brain…).

At Frankston Heights, we try to promote preventative dental care. We encourage brushing, and anything that makes our pets chew; greenies â, or one of the tooth cleaning diets like Hills Prescription t/d â, or even old-fashioned raw bones (chicken-necks for cats and lamb-necks for dogs).

If their teeth are still developing tartar, we can arrange a “Grade 1 Dental” (also known as a Scale & Polish). This is the vet equivalent of a visit to the human dental hygienist – it’s all about dental hygiene, not dental disease. Our Grade 1 Dentals are performed by our highly-trained veterinary nurses, and supervised by a veterinarian. The procedure is not painful, allowing us to use the lightest of anaesthetics just to keep them still (unfortunately, they don’t just lie back and say “Aaaaahhhh”). We find our Grade 1 patients need only a little pain-relief, but no antibiotics, nor extensive follow-up.

As part of our commitment to oral health, Frankston Heights subsidises the cost of Grade 1 Dentals meaning they are less than half the cost of a Grade 2 dental (which needs a deeper anaesthetic, extra pain-relief, antibiotics and a veterinarian).

Mouths that are graded as 2, 3 or 4 all have some degree of disease, and need more intensive treatment. Sometimes this just means a deeper clean, antibiotics or anti-inflammatories, but it can mean that a tooth (or teeth) needs to be removed, or gum surgery performed.


When we first plan to perform a dental, the vet surveys the mouth and assesses what procedures might be needed. This initial assessment is then revised during the procedure, as removing tartar from a tooth allows it to be examined more completely. At this stage, we decide whether a diseased tooth can be saved (the best scenario) or if it must be extracted. This often requires probing the tooth’s root and surrounding gum, and sometimes oral xrays too.

At Frankston Heights, we want to be able to provide the best level of care, so we try to keep up to date with new skills and techniques. We have recently had two in-clinic teaching sessions with respected veterinary dentist Dr. Rod Salter, who covered various advanced dentistry topics including; dental radiology, nerve blocks, gingival flaps and some new extraction techniques. We also discussed endodontics (ie root canals), which can be performed at Frankston Heights by Dr. Salter if needed.

August is National Pet Dental Month, a chance for vets and pet-owners to concentrate on good oral healthcare. One of the ways that we support Dental Month is to offer free nurse dental checks throughout August. A nurse will examine your pet’s teeth and gums, and make recommendations to improve dental health. If the nurse has concerns, they ask a vet to step in and talk you through your options.

Please call the clinic on 59714888 to book your pet’s free dental check, as part of National Pet Dental Month.

Post your comment


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments

Recent Blogs

Beach Bodies

>> Read more

Something to get your teeth into

>> Read more

The Heart of the Matter

>> Read more