Dental Care for Dogs: 5 Common Tooth Problems
Dogs typically do not show signs of pain because in the wild, showing pain would make a dog vulnerable to attack. Today’s domestic canines still maintain this instinct, making dog dental care vitally important.
Following are five common dental problems dogs face and ways to prevent them.
1. Loose Teeth: For puppies, loose teeth aren’t typically a problem, but for an adult dog, a loose tooth is more suspect. It usually results from trauma to the mouth or from gum loss due to advanced gum disease. It may also be a sign of illness.
Call our office if your adult dog has a loose tooth so we can do an X-ray to examine the tooth’s root or conduct an overall exam to screen for other health issues. In most cases, a loose tooth won’t correct itself, so it may have to be extracted.
2. Crooked Teeth: Some breeds are known for their trademark bite, but if it’s extreme, your dog may have difficulty chewing. With humans, an orthodontist will correct crooked teeth to improve a person’s smile or confidence. But with dental care for dogs, appearance isn’t a factor; standard practice recommends correcting these issues only if they are causing an animal pain or preventing them from eating or drinking normally.
If your dog’s bite seems to be causing problems, get him evaluated to identify ways that the teeth can potentially be realigned.
3. Bleeding Gums: Swollen, bleeding gums are a symptom of periodontal disease, the most commonly diagnosed oral problem in dogs. All dogs are vulnerable to periodontal disease, but contributing factors include the reaction of the dog’s immune system, age, diet and chewing habits.
In any dog, your best defense is routine dog dental care, which includes a combination of at-home tooth brushing, good quality chews and periodic dental exams. Starting this at an early age will help your dog accept mouth handling more readily and will give them a head start on prevention.
4. Broken Tooth: Keep a close eye on what your dog chews on. A hearty chew is great for his oral hygiene, but chewing the wrong object can leave him in dental distress. Rigid, solid objects can break or crack a tooth.
You can help your dog avoid a broken tooth by monitoring what he chews on and never giving him solid, rock hard objects for chewing. Chew toys should always be somewhat flexible, with some give to the surface, as a hard rubber or nylon material has.
5. Root Abscess: One of the more agonizing dog dental care problems is a tooth root abscess, which occurs if the root of the tooth becomes exposed to bacteria. Due to the pain involved, it’s best to get your dog to the veterinarian quickly to get X-rays to determine the extent of the problem.
Any time you suspect a problem with your dog’s dental care, call our office to schedule a consultation so we can determine if the problem requires a procedure such as a tooth extraction or professional cleaning. If it’s been awhile since your dog’s last checkup, call our office today!