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Cavities In Dogs: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Just like humans, neglecting oral hygiene in dogs can result in the development of cavities. Today, our veterinarians in Concord provide tips on preventing cavities in dogs and managing them if your dog develops one.

Cavities In Dogs

Both humans and dogs develop cavities, also known as caries, due to prolonged exposure to bacteria found in food, which damages enamel sections. Bacteria remaining on the tooth surface for an extended period trigger acid buildup, corroding the tooth's outer layers, leading to decay and damage.

With time, the enamel on a dog's tooth deteriorates completely, and the tooth's root suffers damage. Severe cases may result in tooth loss or necessitate extraction.

Although cavities in dogs are relatively rare due to low levels of sugars and acids in their diets, certain breeds are more prone to them. Pugs, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Bulldogs, Poodles, and Shih Tzus are predisposed to a higher risk of tooth decay.

Signs Of Cavities In Dogs

Spotting the early signs of cavity development before it progresses to advanced tooth decay can pose a challenge. That's why ensuring your dog receives regular dental checkups from the vet is crucial.

If you observe any of the following symptoms, they could indicate a cavity or another oral health problem, prompting you to schedule an appointment with your vet immediately:

  • Excessive drooling
  • A dark spot anywhere on the tooth
  • Discomfort or pain in the mouth area
  • Tooth discoloration (watch for yellow or brown deposits near the gum line)
  • Dropping food
  • Lack of appetite

How To Treat Cavities In Dogs

When your dog receives a diagnosis of one or more cavities, your vet will evaluate the extent of damage caused to their tooth. The damage is assessed in five stages.

Stage 1: Only enamel affected
Stage 2: Enamel and dentin affected
Stage 3: Enamel, dentin, and pulp chamber affected
Stage 4: Structural crown damage
Stage 5: Majority of the tooth crown lost, exposing the roots

Treatment of dog cavities depends on what stage of damage your dog's tooth has been diagnosed with.

For a Stage 1 or 2 diagnosis, we'll remove the enamel surrounding the cavity and restore the crown with an amalgam filling.

For a Stage 3 dog tooth cavity, your dog will undergo a root canal procedure, mirroring the human process. This involves disinfecting, scrubbing, and filling the root canal, then restoring and sealing the crown.

If your dog has been diagnosed with a Stage 4 or 5 cavity, tooth removal will likely be necessary as the damage may be too severe to save the tooth. Your veterinarian will likely use a sealant on the surrounding teeth to ensure further cavities do not form.

Preventive Measures

Regular dental visits to your vet play a crucial role in maintaining your dog's oral hygiene and preventing cavities. When you schedule regular cleanings for your dog, your vet can identify any developing oral health issues and recommend treatment options before they escalate into more serious problems.

You can also take at-home measures to help your dog maintain their oral hygiene, such as at-home brushing between vet visits and providing your dog with unique chew toys designed to promote plaque removal.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned about your dog's oral health? Please book an appointment for dental care with our Concord vets today!

New Patients Welcome

All Bay Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Concord companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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