Dog Dental Problems

Dogs have 28 puppy teeth and 42 permanent teeth. Good dental care is essential to maintain the overall health of your pet. Dog dental issues can manifest through bad breath, abscesses, swollen gums and the refusal to eat. Dental problems can occur as early as puppyhood; the puppy can have tooth injuries or retained teeth. Older dogs can also have dental problems if they lack a daily dental cleaning and a quality dry food. Certain dog breeds are more prone to dental disease earlier in life.

Signs of Dental Problems

You will notice the following symptoms when your pet has dental problems:

  • Refusal to eat, due to the pain when chewing
  • Bad breath
  • Tartar deposits
  • Receding gums
  • Pus near the gum line
  • Mobile teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Drooling
  • Abscesses
  • Swelling of the gums and face
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose

Dental problems may be of 3 main types: periodontal, endodontal and orthodontal. When you notice any symptoms, you should visit the vet and get a diagnosis and treatment.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease affects the visible part of the tooth, the root and the gum tissue around the tooth.

Periodontal problems are the most frequent in dogs. The problem starts when the accumulated plaque and food debris are not removed and calcify into calculus or tartar. The tartar can affect the gum tissue, which can be inflamed. This condition is known as gingivitis and can be reversible.

If gingivitis is not treated, the bone and surrounding tissues can be affected and there will be abscess formation and even tooth loss.

Endodontal Problems

Endodontal disease affects the internal structure of the tooth. A tooth can be fractured while chewing on hard food or objects, or during accidents (such as catching a Frisbee).

An endodontal problem can be very painful, especially when the fracture is extended and affects the pulp and the nerves of the tooth.

A vet dental specialist can solve the problem, which may require surgery or tooth extraction.

Orthodontal Problems

Orthodontal problems involve an abnormal positioning of teeth, which can lead to more frequent dental decay and infections.

Orthodontal problems are more frequent in puppies. The puppy teeth will be exchanged for permanent teeth, and the permanent teeth will push out the puppy teeth. When the puppy teeth will not fall out, a vet should extract them, to ensure that the permanent teeth will grow in the right place.

If the permanent teeth are not properly aligned, these should be surgically corrected to prevent tooth decay and infections.

Dental problems can present risks for the dog’s overall health if not detected and treated. The bloodstream can carry the bacteria from the infected teeth and gums to other organs.

This is why dental hygiene should be part of the dog’s daily routine. A quality dry dog food can prevent the deposits of tartar. Chew treats and toys can also scratch off the food deposits and keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy.