Plaque and tartar forms on teeth daily and if allowed to accumulate will cause progressive periodontal disease. Cleaning your dog’s teeth every day at home will help prevent plaque and tartar build-up. For proper dental evaluation and care, your dog must be safely placed under general anesthesia. The examination usually includes dental X-rays and probing to evaluate gum bleeding and periodontal pockets. Tooth scaling will be performed, using both hand and ultrasonic scalers, to remove tartar above and below the gum line. Removing plaque and tartar before disease occurs is the foundation of preventative dentistry.
Dogs often break their teeth from chewing on bones, antlers, and hard chew toys. There are five classifications of tooth fractures ranging from enamel fractures to tooth root fractures. Clinical signs can include chewing on one side of the mouth, excessive drooling, dropping food while eating, pawing at the mouth, and facial swelling. A broken tooth needs attention to prevent infection and pain. Your veterinarian may perform root canal or extract the tooth. Eliminating hard chew toys and treats can prevent tooth fractures.
Gingival hyperplasia is a term used to describe the abnormal growth of excessive gum tissue. Gingival hyperplasia is caused by an increase in the number of cells within the gums. In chronic or severe cases, inflammation and its secondary effects (mineral or calcium deposition) may be observed. Gingival hyperplasia is most commonly observed in Boxer Dogs. Other predisposed breeds include Bulldogs and, less commonly, Cocker Spaniels.
Halitosis is caused by bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Once halitosis occurs, professional veterinary oral prevention, assessment, and treatment is needed. Teeth affected by advanced periodontal disease need to be extracted. Reducing the accumulation of plaque, tartar, and resulting halitosis can be achieved by using VOHC accepted products.