Canine Dental Care
Pet dental care is an often overlooked, but important component, of your pet’s health care. 80% of pets have some form of dental disease by the time they are 3 years old. A good dog dental care program will provide comfort and longevity to your pet’s life as well as make them more pleasant to be around!
Dogs suffer from many types of dental diseases, such as:
Canine Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an oral infection caused by bacteria. It begins when bacteria form on teeth in a substance called plaque. If plaque is not removed, the plaque is calcified by the minerals in saliva to become calculus (or tartar) and it will start to move under the gum line. Once the plaque gets under the gum, it starts causing inflammation (“gingivitis”). Gingivitis is the initial, reversible form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis may be painful to your cat and may lead to premature tooth loss. If this inflammation is not controlled, the bacteria within the gingiva change to create more severe inflammation that leads to irreversible periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to bone damage and tooth loss.
Canine Tooth Trauma/Fractured Teeth. Dogs can fracture their teeth by chewing on cage doors, airplane crates, chain-link fences, hard chew toys, ice cubes, and horse hooves. Trauma, such as being hit by a car or a fall can also lead to teeth fractures. Treating a fractured tooth depends upon the fracture and on which parts of the tooth are exposed. Digital dental X-rays are needed for evaluation. If the fracture involves only enamel, the treatment of choice is to smooth the sharp edges. If the fracture involves the tooth’s nerve, then either root canal therapy or extraction is needed.
Canine Oral Development Problems
- When the primary teeth do not fall out in time, there is not enough space for the permanent teeth to move into the correct spot. The permanent teeth are positioned too far inside the mouth and closing the mouth can be painful.
- Canine Deciduous Teeth: When two teeth share the same space, the main permanent tooth is at risk. Food and debris can get caught between the teeth, making oral hygiene difficult. Deciduous teeth are at greater risk for developing periodontal disease.
- Canine Supernumerary Teeth: Two or more normal permanent teeth in the same oral cavity
- Canine Rotated Teeth: Teeth that are not rotated properly within the oral cavity
- Missing Teeth: A visible area in the mouth where a tooth should be. X-rays should be taken to evaluate the area under the gumline for fractured roots, impacted teeth and cysts.
- Enamel Hypoplasia. Enamel hypoplasia is a developmental defect that results in inadequate enamel. It can affect both baby teeth and permanent teeth. This condition can result in teeth without enamel, exposing the dentin, which can be painful.
The comprehensive canine dental care at Animal Medical Center at Fort Sheridan centers around:
- Dental exams with digital X-rays
- Comprehensive dental cleanings, polishing and fluoride treatments
- Minor oral surgery including, but not limited to, tooth extractions, fistula repairs and removal of oral tumors
- Comprehensive pain management before, during and after any oral procedure that may produce discomfort, including administering local anesthesia to all surgical tooth extractions.
- Blood work to determine whether your pet is healthy to receive anesthesia
Your dog will be monitored throughout general anesthesia by our knowledgeable, well-trained technicians with the aid of digital monitoring for vital signs, and home dental care instructions and product recommendations will be provided.
Remember, it is important to your dog’s overall health care program to provide proper dental care. If your dog is experiencing any of these signs of dental disease, please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians.
Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs:
- Bad breath
- Yellow, brown, or discolored teeth
- Loose teeth
- Red, inflamed gums
- Does not play with chew toys as often
- Pain when eating
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss