Veterinary Dental Care For Dogs
Keeping your dog's teeth clean is crucial to their overall health. Unfortunately, it's common for dogs to miss out on the professional care and cleanings that they need.
Our vets in Turlock often see dogs developing signs of gum disease (periodontal disease) or other dental problems by the time they turn 3 years old. The early occurrence of dental disease and conditions can result in serious oral health concerns.
The best way to maintain your dog's oral health is to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
What are the signs of dental problems in dogs?
The signs of dental conditions can be easy to miss without the help of routine professional dental care. That said, if you notice any of the following, it's time to book an appointment with your vet or a veterinary dentist:
- Dropping food
- Excess drooling or blood in drool
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Chewing on one side
What are some of the most common dental problems for dogs?
1. Periodontal Disease
When your dog experiences a build-up of plaque on their teeth it can result in a condition known as periodontal disease or gum disease. If plaque (a thin, sticky film of bacteria) isn't regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus or tartar that becomes more difficult for your vet or vet dentist to remove.
Once tartar develops it can result in infections which can cause a number of more serious complications affecting both the oral health and overall health of your pup. If gum disease isn't treated eventually your dog's teeth can become loose and fall out.
2. Oral Infections
As mentioned above, the buildup of plaque and tartar can lead to the development of infections that can affect all parts of your dog's mouth and eventually other areas of their body. This infection can cause a good deal of pain for your dog and can result in a tooth root abscess.
Besides the negative oral health impacts a tooth infection has, it can also negatively affect your dog's overall body health. Just as in humans, there have been links found between periodontal disease and heart disease in dogs. This is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function, and causing issues with other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
3. Tooth Fractures
While dog's chewing can be considered normal, we need to be wary of the object that our beloved pups are chewing on. If they chew on anything too hard then they may suffer from broken teeth. Tooth fractures are also more likely when your dog is chewing on an object that is too big for their mouth.
When selecting chew toys be sure to pick something that is an appropriate size and material for your dog. Your vet can help recommend dental chews that are appropriate for your dog.
4. Retained Baby Teeth
All puppies have baby teeth (also called deciduous teeth). In most situations, these teeth will fall out by the time your dog reaches 6 months of age. However, in some cases, some of the teeth will remain. This can cause over-crowding which can result in extra plaque buildup and make it more difficult to keep your pup's mouth clean.
Typically, your vet or a dog or cat dentist will recommend these teeth be removed under anesthetic to prevent future issues. Many vets will do this when the dog is already under anesthesia for a spay or neuter.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.