80% of dogs have signs of dental problems before they reach the age of three, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS). While many think it’s simply a cosmetic problem, dental diseases can be painful and serious for dogs, needing professional dog dental care. Sometimes, they don’t show it when they’re hurting, especially due to the pain that requires tooth extraction.
You may only know they have dental pain after a vet exam or when vets use a dental probe to apply pressure around their tooth’s roots.
Signs Your Dog May Be Experiencing Dental Pain
Sometimes, dogs also give their owners warning signs if they’re experiencing dental pain, including the following:
- Decreased interest in eating dry food
- Lost or reduced interest in hard treats
- Chewing more slowly than usual
- Often dropping food from the mouth while chewing
- Excessive drooling
- Pawing at the mouth
- Sudden or worsening resistance to having the face/mouth touched
- Bad breath
- Noticeable loose teeth
- Swelling of the muzzle
When Do Dogs Need a Tooth Extraction?
1. Periodontal Disease
Also called gum disease, periodontal disease is one of the reasons why your vet needs to pull out your dog’s teeth. It has four stages, wherein your vet recommends a tooth extraction when it advances to stage three or moderate periodontitis. In this period, 50% of tooth support loss happens.
Note that the tooth cannot heal once your pet’s bone and gum tissues are destroyed, and tooth extraction is the only remedy.
2. Tooth Decay
Although it’s rare and affects only 10% of dogs, rotten teeth can still happen in your pets, and the primary reason is cavities, just like humans. Almost all veterinarians in general practice, like Miller Clark Animal Hospital, can treat tooth decay. However, make sure that they perform dental X-rays first because it’s the only way to find out the most painful problems in your dog’s mouth.
3. Unerupted or Impacted Teeth
Unerupted teeth remain under the gum line, which usually occurs in brachycephalic breeds or “small-headed” breeds, such as English bulldog, Maltese, Pekinese, Pug, Boston terrier, and French bulldog. If an unerupted tooth is discovered at an early age (ideally before one year), your vet can perform surgery on the gum to help encourage tooth eruption.
However, surgical exploration or extraction are recommended for pets aged more than a year since the tooth will not erupt. If impacted teeth are not removed, it can contribute to dentigerous cyst formation, growing very large and causing damage to other teeth and the surrounding bone. Surgical removal treatment of the unerupted tooth and cystic lining is involved in the case of cysts.
4. Broken Tooth
Your vet can have your dog’s tooth pulled if there is a fracture. If you notice that your pet’s fractured tooth is healthy, it can still cause pain because of exposed nerves. However, they may perform root canal therapy to correct the problem instead of tooth extraction.
In addition, they will also remove your dog’s teeth to eliminate trauma, called traumatic occlusion. This condition is caused by teeth hitting other teeth or digging into the gum tissues. Ensure to visit your vet’s website, if there’s any, to check what kinds of vet services they’re offering.
Note that there are veterinarians who have undergone years of advanced training and passed specific certifications to become specialists in their chosen recognized field of study in veterinary medicine. In other words, take time to select a vet for your pets to make sure their health is 100% well taken care of.