Teeth and Gums Basics in Dogs
Root abscesses can affect any of the teeth, but the ones most commonly
involved are the canines and the upper fourth premolars. Tooth abscesses are
extremely painful and are accompanied by fever, reluctance to eat, and
depression. You may see pus oozing around the tooth.
X-rays confirm the diagnosis and show whether bone is involved.
An abscessed upper fourth premolar causes a characteristic swelling of the
face below the eye. Eventually the abscess breaks through the skin and drains
pus over the side of the face. A diseased tooth may break through the skin of
the lower jaw and produce a similar condition.
Treatment: The abscessed tooth is extracted under anesthesia and the tooth
cavity is cleaned and drained. In some cases the tooth can be saved by doing a
root canal or endodontic procedure. Antibiotics are used to treat
infection. Aftercare at home involves the use of chlorhexidine mouthwashes.
Broken teeth are common. They are caused by chewing on hard objects, such as
stones and hard bones, by catching the teeth on the wire of kennels and cages,
or by trauma.
Treatment: If the fracture involves only the enamel, the tooth is not
painful and no treatment is necessary. However, a break in the crown that
extends into the dental pulp can be extremely painful, and the dog may become
depressed and refuse to eat. Restorative dentistry or extraction of the tooth
will be necessary to prevent an abscessed root. Along with a root canal, a
crown may be made to replace the damaged tooth. These can be made of metal or a
new ceramic. This is most commonly done for working dogs such as police dogs.
Dogs may not compete in conformation competition with a crowned tooth.