Types of dental disease
- Plaque and tartar
- Tooth root abscesses
- Damaged teeth.
Plaque and tartar
When your dog eats, saliva (and lots of bacteria) form a clear, sticky film over their teeth. This is plaque. If plaque isn’t brushed away at the end of the day it turns into a hard, brown substance called tartar. Tartar causes inflammation of the gums (gingivitis).
Over time, the gums become more inflamed and the teeth start to become affected. Eventually the tooth will become loose, start to rot and it may even fall out.
This is a very painful process and can make it hard for your dog to eat.
Gums have a very good blood supply. Unfortunately, this means that bacteria from tartar can easily get into the blood stream and be transported around the body, potentially damaging internal organs such as the kidney, heart and liver.
Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is most commonly caused by tartar build up. It can make eating very painful and in severe cases it can lead to the whole mouth becoming inflamed (stomatitis).
Tooth root abscesses
Tooth root abscesses are painful balloons of pus that form when there is an infection under the tooth. Tooth root abscesses often cause a swelling on the face just under the eye. This swelling will eventually burst and leaks pus.
Tooth root abscesses are very painful and should be treated quickly. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics and in some cases, the infected tooth may need to be removed.
Although your dog’s teeth may seem very hard, they occasionally break if they are weakened by dental disease, if they bump into something or if your dog chews on something hard such as a stone, bone or a hard chew. We advise against feeding bones – they can cause slab fractures in the teeth. Slab fractures are when large chunks of tooth break off and expose the inside of the tooth.
The inside section of the tooth is very sensitive and painful if it’s exposed. Once a tooth is damaged, bacteria and food can easily cause infections.