Dog Tooth Infection

The dental health of your pet is essential for his overall health. A lot of health problems originate in the oral cavity. A simple tooth infection that is left untreated can affect the internal organs and cause further health problems.

Symptoms of Tooth Infection

A tooth infection will be signaled by several symptoms:

  • Foul odor coming from the dog’s mouth, not to be mistaken for the normal dog breath
  • Fractured or chipped tooth
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • Discoloration of the gum
  • Mobile teeth
  • Tartar deposits (a brown yellowish pellicle near the gum line)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swelling of gums or face
  • Tender and painful gums
  • The dog will touch his face with his paws to signal pain
  • Irritability, aggression and behavior changes
  • Hiding behavior, due to pain
  • Howling and growling, due to pain

You should check your dog’s teeth every time you groom him, to detect any dental infections in a timely manner and prevent them from spreading to the bloodstream.

Causes of Dental Infections

A tooth infection can be caused by a number of factors including:

  • Poor dental hygiene that can lead to tooth decay, deposits of tartar, periodontal disease and gum disease; the bacteria can infect the tooth and the surrounding gum tissue, and pus will accumulate
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Exposed roots
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Odontoclastic resorptive lesions

Diagnosing a Tooth Infection

A tooth infection can be diagnosed when examining the dog’s mouth and judging by a few symptoms. However, a dental X-ray may also be needed for confirmation. If the dog is agitated, sedation may be needed to perform the examination.

Treatment Options

The treatment of a dog tooth infection will vary according to the severity of the infection.

Typically, the vet will prescribe antibiotics, which will eliminate the pus and reduce the swelling. The vet may also opt to drain the pus, but the procedure can present some risks, as the pus may enter the bloodstream.

After the pus is eliminated, the vet will establish which treatment is more suitable. If the infection hasn’t damaged the tooth and the bone, a root canal therapy will be recommended, followed by filling the tooth.

If the tooth is badly damaged, tooth extraction may be needed.

Prevention of Tooth Infection

Regular brushing can ensure that the dog’s teeth stay healthy. Infections are mostly caused by poor dental hygiene. Get some pet dental cleaning supplies including a toothbrush and a special flavored toothpaste, which will make it easier for you to clean the dog’s teeth on a daily basis. You can also opt for a mouth rinse and some dental treats and chew toys. A dry food diet is important to remove the food debris and prevent plaque deposits. In some cases, the vet will prescribe a diet for dental health.

Get an annual professional cleaning for your dog’s teeth, to remove all the deposits of tartar that may be present in less accessible areas of your dog’s mouth.