Did you know humans are not the only ones that can experience dental conditions? Today, our South Plainfield veterinary dentists share some information about pet dental care and how you can help prevent cavities and dental disease in your dog.
Dental Disease & Cavities in Dogs
Cavities, also known as caries, happen for the same reason in both humans and dogs. They are areas of damage on the teeth caused by prolonged exposure to the bacteria found in food. When the bacteria sit on the teeth for a long time they cause acid to build up which eats away at the outer layers of the tooth causing decay and damage.
Over time the enamel on your dog's tooth will be completely destroyed and the root of the tooth will be damaged. In severe cases, this will result in the tooth falling out or needing to be extracted.
Although canine cavities are relatively rare due to the low amounts of sugars and acids in most dogs' diets, there are some breeds that are genetically predisposed to dental decay and will be at a higher risk than others
What Are the Signs of Cavities in Dogs?
It can be difficult to spot the early signs of cavity development before it causes advanced tooth decay. This is why it's important for your pup to visit their veterinary dentist for regular dental checkups.
If you notice any of the following symptoms it could be an indication of a cavity or another oral health issue and you should make an appointment with your veterinary dentist right away:
- Excessive drooling
- A dark spot anywhere on the tooth
- Discomfort or pain in the mouth area
- Tooth discoloration, especially yellow or brown deposits near the gum line
- Dropping food
- Lack of appetite
What is the Treatment for Cavities in Dogs?
If your dog's veterinary dentist finds signs of cavities in your dog they will determine how advanced the damage is. There are 5 stages of damage:
Stage 1: Only enamel affected
Stage 2: Enamel and dentin affected
Stage 3: Enamel, dentin, and pulp chamber affected
Stage 4: Structural crown damage
Stage 5: Majority of crown lost, roots exposed
Treatment of dog cavities depends on what stage of damage your dog's tooth has been diagnosed with.
For a stage 1 or 2 diagnosis, the enamel surrounding the cavity will be removed and the crown will be restored with an amalgam filling.
For a Stage 3 dog tooth cavity, your dog will undergo a root canal procedure, similar to what happens with humans, in which the root canal will be disinfected and scrubbed and then filled. The procedure will finish with the restoration and sealing of the crown.
Typically with stage 4 or 5 cavities in dogs, their veterinary dentist will recommend the removal of the tooth in order to prevent further complications. Your veterinary dentist in South Plainfield will likely use a sealant on the surrounding teeth in order to ensure further cavities do not form.
How Can Cavities in Dogs be Prevented?
Regular dental visits to your vet are key when it comes to maintaining your dog's oral hygiene and preventing cavities. When you bring your dog in for regular cleanings with their veterinary dentist they can also catch any developing oral health issues and suggest treatment options before they turn into a more serious problem.
There are also at-home measures you can take to help your dog maintain their oral hygiene such as at-home brushing in between vet visits and providing your dog with special chew toys designed to promote plaque removal.