Dental Problems in Dogs

Dogs can experience the same type of dental problems that humans do, from a cracked or broken tooth all the way to plaque buildup and periodontal disease.

Dogs could also suffer from toothaches or any number of dental issues and are programmed to hide their pain.

Your dog might be suffering from dental problems in silence unless you have his teeth regularly checked and keep an eye out for other symptoms of advanced dental problems.

Any of the below symptoms can be indicative of a dental problem.

Symptoms of Dental Problems in Dogs

  • dog getting dental checkRed gums
  • Bleeding gums or blood on a chew toy
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Vocalization when eating or yawning
  • Bumps or lumps in the mouth area
  • Bloody or rope-like saliva
  • Not wanting you to touch head area
  • Problems picking up food
  • Chewing on only one side of the mouth
  • Sneezing and nasal discharge

Common Dental Issues in Dogs

The most common dental problems in dogs are the following:

Cracked or Broken Teeth

Dogs can easily crack or break their teeth by either biting into something hard or even just a tooth cracking on its own.

When a broken tooth becomes exposed, it can become infected if not treated properly.

Always check with your vet if you notice a cracked tooth even if your dog doesn’t seem to be in pain.

An x-ray will determine whether your dog needs a root canal if it seems to have been exposed.

Root Abscess

A root abscess occurs when the root becomes exposed to bacteria.

This can be a result of a crack or break or even periodontal disease.

Sometimes the result can be that your dog’s eyes look infected depending on the location of the tooth.

The gums might also be swollen if the bacteria has already spread.

It’s important to get to the vet immediately to assess the issue.  A root canal might be done or your vet will try to remove the tooth and clean up the area before it becomes infected.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the result of plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth.

The tartar buildup can affect the gums which will usually develop into gingivitis.

If periodontal disease isn’t treated, it can cause the gums to recede and eventually lose their function.

The usual sign of the periodontal disease is if your dogs’ gums look inflamed.

A professional teeth cleaning can help reverse periodontal disease if done before the disease has progressed too far.

Loose Teeth

If your dog has a loose tooth that isn’t a result of an accident, it is usually from some trauma inside the mouth or even periodontal disease.

It could also be a sign of illness.

Always visit your vet who will eventually extract the tooth.

Dog Dental Problem Prevention

Prevention is the key to avoiding dental issues, and you can regularly brush your dog’s teeth at home or schedule a professional cleaning at the vet.

Your vet should also check your dog’s teeth at every regularly scheduled visit to catch potential problems at their earliest stages.

Chew toys are always helpful to keep your dogs’ teeth strong.

There are also many different types of wet and dry dog food that promote dental health.

The Cost of Dental Problems

Dental problems can also be the result of an accident, in which cases surgery may be needed to repair or replace teeth.

If your dog needs any kind of dental surgery, the cost can easily reach $2,000.

Even cleaning your dog’s teeth can cost anywhere from $750 to $1,000.  The high expense of cleanings is due to the anesthesia used to sedate your dog during the procedure, which can be risky for certain breeds.

Most dog pet insurance plans cover dental problems due to accidents, but they usually don’t cover cleanings unless you opt for a wellness plan that includes teeth cleaning as part of the covered routine care.

For example, plans like Embrace will even cover up to $650 of the cost of periodontal disease.

Is it worth it purchase dental health insurance?  It really depends on how much you think your dog will need it.

Final Thoughts on Dog Teeth Problems

The best way to prevent any dental issue in your dog is to keep up with your annual vet visits to have your dog’s teeth checked.

It can help not only the dental issues that might have occurred but also check the overall condition of your dog.

And you can even try brushing your dog’s teeth at home to get rid of the tartar build-up.  Just make sure to use a toothpaste that is specifically for that purpose.

Most dogs don’t mind when you brush them and it could be a good time to do a mouth check to make sure everything looks fine inside your dog’s mouth.

As they say, dental health is a good indicator of total health and we always want our dogs to be healthy!

For information on just some of the dog health issues that can occur, take a look our handy dog health glossary.

9 Comments
  1. Reply
    Martyna P. 02/18/2016 at 11:38 am

    I own a poodle and her dental problems used to be very severe. Her breath was very bad and apparently she had plaque on her teeth. Treating it at the vet’s would be expensive, so he recommended us removing the teeth completely. So we did it. She has only few small teeth, and she can only eat soft things but it’s still better than it was.

    • Reply
      Fran 04/03/2016 at 3:51 pm

      We had a dog that was a stray and then was rescued, she needed the majority of her teeth out but it was worth it as it is likely they cause a lot of pain to the dog when they are in this state.

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