Tooth Abscess in Dogs

A tooth abscess in dogs can be a painful condition and it can also lead to the development of more severe infections, as soon as the bacteria enter the blood stream. A timely detection can prevent complications and discomfort in your pet, so make sure you pay attention to early symptoms and get treatment.

Causes of Dog Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess may occur if bacteria reach the root of the tooth. This can happen if the dog has a gum disease or in rare cases, the bacteria can get to the root of the tooth from the blood flow. The bacteria may eat the attachment of the root to the jaw and pus accumulation may also be present.

Symptoms of Tooth Abscess in Dogs

A tooth abscess will manifest through several symptoms including:

  • Pawing the mouth and nose
  • Facial swelling
  • Inflammation of the nose
  • Foul odor in the mouth, caused by the pus accumulation
  • Inflamed and red gums
  • Pus under the gum line
  • Excessive drooling with blood in it
  • Lack of appetite, due to pain when chewing

If the abscess affects the 4th premolar or the carnassial tooth, you may notice inflammation under the dog’s eye and pus accumulation in this area as well. This may often be mistaken for an eye infection, so a proper diagnosis is important.

Diagnosing Tooth Abscesses

A tooth abscess can be diagnosed by examining the dog’s mouth and detecting the possible areas affected by the abscess. The vet will need to perform a radiograph, which will establish if the tooth and the neighboring tissues are affected in any way. In some cases, the accumulated pus may make the radiograph blurry, so the vet will need to administer some antibiotics to reduce the pus and perform a radiograph afterwards.

Tooth Abscess Treatment Options for Dogs

The main treatment options for a tooth abscess include:

  • Extraction of the tooth
  • A root canal procedure

Regardless of the treatment chosen, the vet will administer a cure of antibiotics first. The antibiotics are required, as otherwise none of the available treatments can be performed. The extraction is an inexpensive procedure that will also involve removing some surrounding tissue. If not all infected tissues are removed, the infection may be recurrent and affect neighboring teeth. The root canal is a more complicated procedure that will save the tooth and remove the bacteria. This treatment may be effective only in less advanced abscesses and may also not be successful, leading to additional infections.

Left untreated, the bacteria can enter the blood stream and cause internal infections. If the abscess affects the carnasial tooth, the dog can lose his eyesight if the condition is not treated.

Preventive Measures

Dental abscesses may be prevented in some cases. It’s important to keep your pet’s teeth clean and remove plaque every day using a soft brush. The dog’s overall health is also important, so try avoiding various bacterial infections.