Every Rose has its Thorn

Stick stuck in Dog mouthHailey is a beautiful golden retriever who came to Dr. Niemiec of Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialists for bad breath without obvious gum disease.  The only way to accurately assess and diagnose any pet dental condition is under anesthesia and with radiographs.

So, Hailey was placed under anesthesia and initial examination revealed a stick across her palate and wedged between the big chewing teeth on the upper jaw. This was a bit of a surprise and further questioning of the owner revealed that Hailey loved rose bushes and would occasionally chew on them.  Examination of the stick confirmed that it was indeed a piece of a rose bush. Unfortunately the stick had created significant gum and bone damage in the area between the roots of the major chewing teeth.

Veterinary dental radiographs were taken and then the surgical process begaan. Dr. Niemiec removed the stick and then elevated the palate tissue to expose the areas between the roots of these important chewing teeth. After the roots were cleaned, bone grafts were placed in the area to help regrow the lost bone.  She did lose one smaller molar due to the advanced disease, but this will not affect her life.

At two week recheck, she is happier and her breath is much better.  There is now a new fence around the rosebushes!

When you notice something suddenly different, like increased bad breath, it’s very important to find a veterinary dentist to evaluate your pet. You never now what the problem could be.

For veterinarians seeking more information about periodontal surgery, order Dr. Niemiecs text book “Veterinary periodontoliogy” here.  

Give a Dog a Bone?

Give your dog a bone and without question they’ll run off to gnaw and chew for hours. But, next time you see those bones at the grocery or pet store, consider they may end up costing you much more than a few dollars. Dog bones have the potential to seriously damage your dog’s teeth, which can lead to an unexpected veterinary bill. The following video from Veterinary News Network, offers excellent information about the risks of letting a dog chew on bones.

Broken dog tooth - Vet Dentist

A fractured dog tooth is painful & must be treated.

While bones are not the only cause for fractured teeth, board certified veterinary dentists will agree it’s is a common cause for dogs who must be treated for broken teeth. “In most cases, broken teeth are caused by the significant biting force dogs can generate coupled with the items they  chew,” says Dr. Michael Peak, a vet dentist in Florida.

“For dogs, chewing on hard materials commonly causes broken or fractured teeth. The result is often a tooth fracture that extends into the pulp canal within the tooth,” says Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialist Dr. Chris Visser.

Since your dog can’t tell you about their pain, you may not initially realize your dog has a broken tooth – but you can be assured broken teeth are very painful for your pet. Dr. Dale Kressin, a Wisconsin Vet Dentist explains, “The anatomy, physiology and nervous system of our companion animals is incredibly similar to our own.  It is only logical to assume animals experience pain from fractured teeth as we do.”

Signs you may notice are your dog not wanting to eat hard treats or food or not being as playful as usual, however sometimes you may not notice anything at all. Maybe owners report that they didn’t notice any difference in their dog’s behavior until after treatment when they suddenly seem like a whole new dog. Regular pet oral exams and radiographs are vital to diagnose any problems in your pet’s mouth including broken teeth. Dr. Woodward, a veterinary dentist in Colorado says, “Waiting for the pet to show signs of pain, which hardly ever happens, can actually leave the pet in pain for years.

Can my dog’s broken tooth be repaired? Yes, there are options to repair a dog’s broken tooth. One option many pet owners are unaware of is that a Veterinary Dentist can provide endontic or root canal treatment for a dog’s broken tooth instead of extracting the tooth. “Depending on which tooth is extracted, it can be a significant loss for the pet,” says Washington Vet Dentist Dr. Allen Matson, “therefore often a better option is root canal therapy, which saves the dogs tooth.”

So, while it can be tempting to give your dog a bone, you can save your dog and your wallet the pain caused by a broken tooth.