Little teeth sure can cause a big problem. Keisha’s Amazing Dental Story

Little teeth sure can cause a big problem. Keisha’s Amazing Dental Story

Dental care is only one aspect of veterinary medicine and our efforts to keep your pets healthy. Many owners have some misconceptions about dental care that may prevent them from pursuing options for their pets:  it will be expensive and time consuming, dental disease doesn’t affect their animal, or that dental care is more of a cosmetic practice.  At CVVC we aim to give you the information and the tools you need to best take care of your pet in a way that works for you and your family.  We are able to provide quality care in many different ways, and together we can find the best solutions for you and your pets.

Today we would like to shed some light on some of those dental misconceptions using a recent case we have had at the clinic.

Keisha, a teacup poodle, had been having bad breath so her mom brought her into the clinic to discuss dental health.  On examination of her mouth we found that she had tartar build up, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and some teeth were missing.  We worked with her owner to make a plan and explore her options, and decided together that a dental cleaning with oral radiographs would be best.  Our technician went over what would happen on the day of the dental with her so she would know what to expect and any questions she had about the process could be answered.

Once we started our dental procedure and could get a thorough look at Keisha’s mouth and take some radiographs, we found that Keisha had significant dental disease lurking beneath her gums.  Bacteria in the mouth secrete toxins that can destroy bone.  This is why many bite wounds require antibiotics as treatment.  Once a tooth is diseased the bacteria swoop in and can cause significant destruction, and the bone changes are not always visible without radiographs.  Keisha’s radiographs showed us that she had lost significant bone, enough to cause her jaw to break.  The best way to treat dental infections is through a dental cleaning and exam, and then we can determine which teeth are diseased and remove them, giving the body a chance to heal itself and reducing the bacterial load to help save any remaining teeth.  The mouth has an excellent healing ability due to the moist environment and the large blood supply.  Once the tooth and socket are treated properly by your veterinarian, further damage is prevented and the body can start to heal.  The bone that helps hold teeth in the mouth is thin in small breed dogs

Keisha beforeKeisha Post Dental


Unfortunately dental disease does not result in many obvious signs apart from bad breath and dirty teeth.  Your veterinary team can help you tell the difference between a mild tartar build up and severe dental disease.  Pets are very good at hiding dental pain; very few of them act differently or stop eating, even in the presence of severe dental pain.  This is why it is so important to work with your veterinarian so we can preserve the health of your pet’s mouth, and quickly treat any problems before a serious infection takes root.  While in Keisha’s case the bone healing was very successful, this does not occur in all cases.  Sometimes when the bone is lost it never returns, and the body is forced to try and scar the remaining bone together with a fibrous union.  Regular wellness visits allow us to diagnose and track any oral issues so that a treatment plan can be established.   A dental procedure is not warranted in all cases, but ongoing care is important so that any problems can be dealt with quickly and effectively to ensure optimal health of your pet (furry family member).

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