Common Teeth Problems in Dogs


Authored by Vonda J. Sines in Dogs 
Published on 11-05-2009

When you took your German Shepherd in for his yearly immunizations, the thought of a root canal for the dog probably never crossed your mind. However, this and other expensive dental procedures that mimic those that humans undergo aren’t exactly far fetched these days.

Hopefully, your pet will never need an involved dental procedure. However, tooth problems occur far more often than most dog owners suspect. Here are some of the most common, Pet Education reports:

Plaque. While dogs can get cavities, they’re far less common than in human beings. Dogs are far more prone to excess tartar building up on their teeth and the potential of gum disease. This occurs when particles of food and bacteria congregate along the gums. Following a home dental care regimen can keep any plaque in your dog’s mouth under control.

Tartar. It’s also known as calculus. It occurs in your pet’s mouth when plaque and minerals found in saliva combine and stick to the teeth. In just a few days, plaque begins to mineralize. When a dog’s gums become sufficiently irritated by the tartar, the resulting inflammation is known as gingivitis. You might spot reddened gums next to the teeth or note bad breath. A visit to the veterinarian is in order to get rid of the tartar by this stage. He or she will use a scaler on the dog’s teeth, then polish them.

Periodontal disease. When tartar is allowed to remain in your dog’s mouth, it builds up under the gums and eventually pulls them away from the teeth. This unfortunately creates the perfect environment for more bacteria. This stage is known as periodontal disease and is considered irreversible. The dog typically suffers from a lot of pain. Loose teeth, abscesses, bone infection and even bone loss are potential results. If the bacteria multiply sufficiently and reach the dog’s bloodstream, a huge infection could result. This could affect the heart valves, kidneys, and liver. A veterinarian might elect to try to treat the dog with special procedures or refer the owner to a veterinary dentist.

Cracked or broken tooth. When it happens – particularly in an older pet – it can be a heartbreaker for a dog’s owner. Sometimes the crack is in the enamel. The entire tooth might be cracked or broken. This typically happens when a dog is allowed to chew too long or too hard on an object. Vets routinely see the results of the pet that chomps and chomps on tennis balls, for example. When one or more teeth are cracked or broken, you should immediately arrange for the dog to see a veterinarian.

As dogs age, they’re more prone to all the dental problems above. However, the likelihood of any of them developing during the dog’s lifetime is less if you follow a regimen of good dental care at home. This includes brushing your dog’s teeth regularly and being on the lookout for signals such as red gums, plaque or tartar buildup, cracked or missing teeth, or bad breath.

It’s equally important to make sure a veterinarian examines your pet’s mouth periodically to check for signs of dental problems. He or she can also provide recommendations of appropriate toys that will mechanically remove plaque.


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