Although dogs generally don´t require thorough dental care as humans do, it´s important for dog owners to pay attention to their pet´s teeth condition.
Dogs are also subject to cavities and tartar, and if left untreated, their spoiled teeth can fall out. Here are some basic things you need to know about dogs teeth and proper dental care.
Puppies are expected to have thirty-two milk teeth consisting of six incisors or front teeth, two canine or comers, and eight molars or grinders on each jaw.
The process of eruption begins at about the third week and usually extends over a period of two weeks so that at five weeks, all of the milk teeth should be through. They erupt rapidly, giving no trouble to the dog.
The permanent set consists of forty-two teeth arranged, the same as the puppy teeth, with the addition of four large grinders on the upper jaw, and six on the lower.
Their eruption begins about the third or fourth month and is usually completed by the time the dog is seven months old.
During the process of teething, the gums become very red and swollen and there´s an increased flow of saliva.
In some cases, the inflammation is intense and there´s a loss of appetite and occasional convulsions. The second incisors and canines usually come in before the puppy teeth drop out and unless the latter are removed, they will force the new teeth to one side which will then become permanent, leaving the dog with an unsightly double set of teeth.
These milk teeth which became permanent are difficult to extract because of their long root which is firmly imbedded in the jaw.
Unless an expert executes their removal, the tooth may be broken, leaving the root for further trouble.
Dog´s teeth supposedly require no attention, but due to the abnormal conditions that our dogs are exposed to these days, most dental problems arise due to neglect.
Tartar is a calcareous deposit on the neck of the teeth at the border of the gums. It´s a gray, yellow, or brownish color and is hard and brittle in composition.
Once the tooth accumulate sufficient quantities, it pushes back the gums, laying bare its root which is thereby loosened. The food particles are deposited in it, causing irritation and decay.
Tartar accumulation may be prevented by cleaning the teeth occasionally with water using cotton swabs as a brush. Plain water, a solution of table salt, bicarbonate of soda, or hydrogen peroxide may be used.
The peroxide tends to dissolve the tartar, making its removal much easier. Some of the tooth powders that we use can often be applied, but with more or less difficulty.
After a large deposit has formed, it must be removed by the use of special instruments. Make sure to consult your vet about it.
It´s a slow, tedious process and one which the dog will surely resist. After the tartar has been removed, the gums frequently need treatment especially on areas where they have receded. For this purpose, solutions of permanganate of potash or boric acid are best.
Dogs, as much as men, suffer from toothache too since both have the same pathological conditions. Although a dog´s nervous mechanism isn´t as acute as a man’s, pain can still be demonstrated.
A painful tooth can be detected by tapping it gently with a metal
object; this causes a sharp throb of the jaw. Toothache is caused by decayed tooth, decayed tissue around it, or abscess formation at the base of the root.
Decayed and Loose Teeth
Normally, decayed tooth as well as the pockets in which they are imbedded are not subject to decay. However, in cases where the tooth is broken, the sensitive structures are left to the influence of infection and food, which leads to decay.
Inflammation of the lining of the pockets in which the teeth are
placed comes about through receding of the gums, due to tartar formation.
As the condition progresses, the teeth loosen and finally fall out. Abscesses may form at the base of the foot, causing the inflammation to start at that end. These abscesses often break through the jaw, causing fistula.
In this condition, surgical intervention is necessary and the sooner it´s applied, the fewer teeth will be lost.
Toy spaniels´ front teeth loosen at a very early age and in spite of rigid treatment, are often lost prematurely.
Disclaimer: In cases where your dog has serious tooth decay issues, consult your veterinarian first before you execute any complicated treatment at home.