Tiny Yorkie, Major Dental Problems

yorkie dental disease

Dr. Niemiec with Safari, a rescued 2lb.  Yorkie rescue with severe dental disease.

Safari, a Yorkie in foster placement with Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, weighed in at less than two pounds when she presented for veterinary evaluation. Unfortunately, Safari had severe dental disease with very infected teeth and gums.

A referring general practice veterinarian at the Governor Animal Clinic indicated that specialty care with Dr. Niemiec and Southern California Veterinary Specialties would be the right decision for the best success for Safari. Due to her extremely small size, there were concerns regarding anesthesia and also for significant risk of breaking her tiny jaw during the tooth extractions procedure. These risks would be greatly minimized by having a board certified veterinary dental specialist perform her needed dental procedures.

Safari was scheduled for dental surgery with Dr. Niemiec. A complete oral examination and dental  x-rays required general anesthesia, which was performed with safe and current standards of advanced veterinary medicine. The exam and x-rays revealed severe gum disease with infected tooth roots of nearly all the teeth in her mouth. In addition, there were several retained puppy/baby teeth which were also infected. Dr. Niemiec performed extractions of all but Safari’s two lower molar teeth. There were no surgical complications and Safari recovered very well from anesthesia.

Thanks to advanced veterinary dental care, Safari is now much happier and healthier, without a painful mouth; and she is now looking for a forever home. If you are interested in adopting Safari or any other homeless Yorkie dogs, please visit www.yorkierescue.com.

What Safari’s foster provider shared with us:


“Your confidence in the surgery required to fix her mouth has given us all hope that Safari will be able to overcome the first of many obstacles she will face in order to live a healthy life. Her teeth are the worst we have ever seen in over fifteen years of Yorkie Rescue, and we knew only the best would feel poised undertaking the surgery required to clean out her severely infected mouth. Your reputation precedes you with good reason.

We are sorry we were unable to thank you in person today, and we want to reiterate our most sincere thanks on behalf of everyone at Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, and especially Safari herself, for putting her on your surgery schedule.”

Vet Dental Update Vol. 1 No. 1

Ophthalmic manifestations and complications of dental disease in dogs and cats
Ramsey DT, Marretta SM, Hamor RE, et al.
J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 1996 May-Jun;32(3):215-24.

Because of the intimate anatomic relationship between the maxillary dentition and ophthalmic structures, dental disease may manifest itself as ophthalmic disease. Primary dental disease should always be a consideration when encountering diseases involving the globe and/or orbit. Dental radiographs can help identify any existing dental disease. Inappropriate dental treatment may also result in iatrogenic damage to ophthalmic structures. Continue reading “Vet Dental Update Vol. 1 No. 1” »

Racee - Dog with Periodontal Disease & Root Canal

Acting Like a Puppy Again After Extractions & Root Canal

Racee - Dog with Periodontal Disease & Root Canal

Racee, Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists Patient.

Racee is 8 1/2 years old, but according to her owners has always been as energetic as a puppy. Recently, Racee’s owners noticed she wasn’t acting her usual playful self. Then they noticed a broken tooth in her mouth and decided to take her for an evaluation at Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists. Upon examination under veterinary anesthesia, it was discovered that in addition to the broken tooth, about a third of Racee’s mouth was infected with periodontal disease.

The veterinary dental treatment plan consisted of tooth extraction, root tip extraction and a root canal.

Seven of Racee’s teeth needed to be extracted because they had advanced periodontal disease. Periodontal disease in a pet’s mouth means that there is infection around the tooth that has caused bone loss, in this case leaving Racee’s teeth loose and unable to remain in her mouth.

In addition, a root tip was extracted due to surrounding infection. An infected root tip will cause pain to a pet, which we always keep a top concern in veterinary dentistry.

Root canal therapy was done on Racee’s lower canine because the tooth had an exposed pulp, which will lead to death of a pet’s tooth and cause an abscess. A dog’s lower canine has a very large root and gives the lower jaw a lot of strength, if the tooth is extracted the jaw can be weakened and possibly fracture. Saving the tooth with root canal therapy allowed us to keep Racee’s tooth in the mouth. Although the tooth is dead, the root canal allows it to remain functional, just as in human root canals.

After treatment, Racee’s family reported her being back to her playful self, acting like a puppy once again. Watch a video testimonial from Racee’s mom below.


Splint Used to Stabilize & Save Dog’s Tooth

Splint placed to stabalize Jennabell's tooth.

Splint placed to stabilize Jennabell’s tooth.

Jennabell, a 9 year-old female Husky, was attacked by two other dogs and her owner noticed that her left canine tooth was displaced laterally (luxated). She initially took Jennabell to her regular veterinarian who reduced the tooth back to its normal position and repaired the lacerated gingiva around it. Her vet advised further evaluation from a veterinary dental specialist in order to have the tooth stabilized in place.

Jennabell presented the following day to Animal Dental Care in Colorado Springs. Upon evaluation, it was determined that the left maxillary canine tooth was slightly mobile, but still in place. Digital veterinary dental radiographs (x-rays), under anesthesia, did not reveal any fracture of the root or surrounding bone, however there was significant widening of the periodontal ligament space secondary to where the trauma was observed.

After thorough evaluation of Jennabell’s mouth and x-rays, the decision was made to try to save Jennabell’s tooth rather than extract. Orthopedic wire was placed in a figure-eight pattern between the two maxillary canine teeth and secured in place with flowable composite material. Acrylic splint material was placed over the wire and around the base of the maxillary canine teeth.

Jennabell returned three weeks later for splint removal. The left maxillary canine tooth was stable and not mobile, but slightly discolored. This indicated probable non-vitality (death) of the tooth and a standard root canal procedure was performed.