Tooth abscesses are a common dental disease in dogs and cats, which can cause a lot of pain. There are many different types of abscesses in dogs, including tonsillar, peritonsillar, gum, paw, anal gland, perianal, and tooth abscesses. This article will focus on tooth abscess in dogs and help you learn more about why they occur, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment….
A tooth abscess occurs below the gum line when a tooth is infected and the infection spreads to the surrounding tissues. The first sign of tooth abscess may be a sudden and intense onset of pain in the gum opposite the abscess. The dog may cry with the pain, paw at his mouth, and drool.
To understand tooth abscess in dogs, we must first consider the anatomy of the canine teeth. Each canine tooth has a root at its base, which is embedded in the dog’s jawbone. The tooth also has a crown above the gum line, which is where tooth decay or periodontal disease can occur.
When the tooth crown becomes infected with bacteria or dental plaque, the tissue surrounding the tooth can become inflamed. This inflammation is called pericoronitis.
Root canal therapy is the process of removing and cleaning the pulp from the inside of the tooth to treat an infection. A tooth abscess occurs when bacteria get trapped inside a cavity in the root of the tooth, and the immune system tries to fight it off by producing pus.
Abscesses are a common problem in dogs. The teeth are the most common site, but abscesses can occur anywhere in the body. Abscesses are often painful and must be treated promptly.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a dog tooth abscess?
- 2 What causes Tooth Abscess in Dogs?
- 3 Symptoms of a dog tooth abscess
- 4 Diagnosis
- 5 Treatment options
What is a dog tooth abscess?
An abscess refers to a buildup of pus near an infection site. When your dog has a tooth infection, you will see reddening and swelling around the tooth. The more pus builds up, the more tender and swollen the area around the tooth.
Tooth root abscess refers to a serious infection that occurs when bacteria from your mouth gets into the root of your tooth. Dog teeth are more susceptible to this dental condition than the teeth of humans.
The bacteria that cause tooth abscesses in dogs are similar to those that cause tooth decay in people: Streptococcus mutans, which break down carbohydrates into acids, and Lactobacillus, which helps with digestion. Tooth abscess in dogs can occur for one of two reasons: either a broken tooth or severe periodontal disease (i.e. dental disease in dogs)
What causes Tooth Abscess in Dogs?
Abscesses can occur in many ways in dogs. A bite from another animal is one of the most common causes. A bite injury can introduce bacteria to the wound. If the infection is severe enough, it may lead to an abscess. Abscesses can also be caused by puncturing injuries, such as from grass seeds and sticks.
Abscesses are often caused by certain bacterial species, such as
- Pus-forming bacteria like Staphylococcus, Escherichia coli, certain Streptococcus species, Pseudomonas, Mycoplasma, Pasteurella multocida, Corynebacterium, Actinomyces, Nocardia, and Bartonella
- Bacteria cannot survive and grow without oxygen, such as Bacteroides and Clostridium.
There are several causes of dental abscess in dogs. However, two main ones are infection after a tooth has been broken or severe periodontal disease.
Other issues, both internal and external, can also lead to dog tooth abscess.
- Poor oral hygiene: You should brush your dog’s teeth regularly and check his dental health. This will prevent tooth abscesses as well as other dental problems such as gum disease.
- Oral Trauma: Your dog may have teeth problems if he has suffered trauma to his head or face.
- Chewing on hard objects, such as bones or sticks: Too much pressure can cause the tooth’s gums to break or crack, leaving it open to invasive bacteria.
When bacteria get into the tooth’s root canal, a tooth root abscess is formed. Enamel covers the crown of healthy teeth. Enamel protects the tooth from bacteria by being virtually impervious. Dentin is the dental hard tissue beneath the enamel.
The small openings (tubules), in dentin, connect with the middle of the tooth. The pulp cavity is located in the middle of the tooth and contains soft tissue, blood vessels, nerves, lymphatic tissue, and nerves. The pulp is the collective name for the tissue found in the pulp cavity. The pulp is responsible for maintaining the normal tooth.
The protective enamel of the tooth can be chipped. This exposes the dentin underneath the tooth, which exposes the pulp. Bacteria can then get into the tooth’s center.
Tooth fractures in dogs are most commonly caused by chewing on hard objects such as bones, crate bars, or antlers.
Pulpitis is when the pulp tissue becomes inflamed from bacteria infection. The tooth eventually dies due to this condition. The root apex is where bacteria and the dying pulp tissue begin to leak out. This causes infection and apical periodontitis.
An abscess, or an accumulation of pus, can occur when the persistent infection persists. It may either leak into the oral cavity (below the chin if the affected root is in the lower jaw) or onto the skin (beneath the chin if the affected root is upper). Tooth root abscessation, pulpitis, and apical periodontitis can all be extremely painful.
Tooth root abscesses can also be caused by periodontal disease. The infection does not reach the bone from the center of the tooth, but instead, tracks around the tooth’s outside through the supporting tissues.
An abscess can be caused by a broken tooth
Broken teeth are quite common in dogs. Dogs are more likely to suffer from broken teeth than their owners realize. This is due to the hard toys and treats dogs love to chew on. Many pet owners are unaware that many of the products available for dogs are too hard on their teeth.
Dogs’ teeth are designed to shred and not chew on a bone. Dog owners are not allowed to buy chew toys that are too hard because they believe that dogs chew bones in the wild.
Chewing on hard objects can cause dogs to break their teeth. This includes metal dog crate doors and antlers, bones, and hard plastic toys. This can also occur if the dog has suffered trauma to its face.
An enamel layer covers a healthy tooth. The enamel protects the tooth from bacteria. It also prevents bacteria from reaching the pulp chamber, which is the soft tissue inside the tooth. The pulp chamber can be accessed by bacteria if a tooth is broken or the enamel has been chipped.
The pulp chamber is a freeway for bacteria. The bacteria can travel right to the root of the tooth thanks to this chamber. The infection at the root causes damage to the bone and soft tissues surrounding the tooth. This is called an abscess.
Another reason for tooth abscesses is severe periodontal disease.
Dogtooth abscesses may also be caused by severe periodontal disease. Periodontal disease in dogs can cause inflamed gums and bacteria.
Sometimes bacteria can travel from the outside of the tooth to the root. An abscess can occur when bacteria travels from the tooth’s outside to the root. Your older dog may also be suffering from periodontal disease.
In the video below, Doc Pawsitive talks about canine root abscesses. This is a common condition that can cause stiff and painful swelling just below the eyes. The canines, the large upper molars at the back of a dog’s mouth, are most commonly affected.
\Root infections can be caused by a number of factors, including periodontal disease, plaque, and tartar buildup, gingivitis, and root bruising. Dogs chewing on hard objects, such as bones, sticks, rocks, or other hard materials, can damage the roots of their teeth.
Symptoms of a dog tooth abscess
One or more of these signs may be present in dogs suffering from tooth root abscesses:
- The roots of the first and fourth upper molars (i.e., the fourth premolar and the first molar) are swelling below the eye. Large chewing teeth, which look like mountains in your upper jaw, lie directly beneath your eye. An abscess can lead to swelling below the eye and swelling of the face. The pus may burst or be released. This can appear to be a cut on your dog’s skin.
- An abscess that involves the roots of the lower premolars or molars can cause swelling under the chin and along the lower jaw. This could lead to swelling which can burst or create a wound.
- Red gums – An infection of the tooth can cause inflammation and reddening of the gums.
- Bad breath is caused by bacteria in tooth root abscesses. This can often lead to bad breath.
- Although pain signs may not be obvious, you might notice that your pet is pawing at your face or chewing more on one end of the mouth than the others.
Dogs with an abscessed tooth: Physical signs
Dogs cannot communicate using words so owners must be alert for signs and symptoms such as:
- She only eats on one side. This could be her way to avoid the pain.
- Severe halitosis. A tooth abscess, while not causing pine-fresh breath in dogs, can lead to particularly bad breath.
- She may experience swelling on her neck or face. Inflamed areas around the abscessed tooth may cause swelling. It is possible for the area to become hot.
- Drooling. Drooling is more common in cats than in dogs. However, it can occasionally occur in dogs who have a dental problem.
A dog suffering from a tooth abscess might behave differently. You should be looking for signs of behavior changes such as:
- Not to touch or pet, particularly on the face.
- Aggression. Aggressive behavior in a normally calm dog that starts to growl or snarl is a sign of trouble.
- Excessive scratching at his mouth or face area.
- Unexpected times Crying or whining
- Avoiding. Extreme heat can make a tooth’s abscess worse. You should get your dog to the vet immediately if she is afraid to eat or drink.
The vet will examine your dog’s teeth and surrounding areas and the vet may:
- Recommendation: Take an X-ray. An X-ray can be taken of the affected tooth to identify an abscess. Your dentist might also use X-rays to see if the infection has spread to other areas.
- A CT scan is recommended. A CT scan can be used to determine if the infection has spread to other parts of the neck.
You should be aware that your dog could have a tooth root abscess if you observe any of these symptoms. You can only be certain if your dog is suffering from a tooth root abscess if you take him to the vet.
You’re familiar with the pain of a sore tooth if you have ever experienced it. Dogs are no different. It is important to treat your dog’s tooth root abscess promptly.
Your vet will examine your dog’s mouth when he or she is awake. If your vet suspects that your dog may have an abscessed tooth they will usually recommend a dental procedure.
During this procedure, your vet will take X-rays of your dog’s teeth. This is an important diagnostic step. The vet cannot see the root of the tooth or the surrounding bone by simply looking into your dog’s mouth. An X-ray can help you locate the problem tooth. On X-ray, an abscessed tooth will usually have a dark halo around the root of the tooth.
During the procedure, your vet may also take additional X-rays or perform a complete dental exam. The vet will then examine the remaining teeth of your dog to determine if there are any issues. Your vet will then treat any diseased or sore teeth (more soon), and a veterinary nurse will clean the remaining teeth.
If a carnassial teeth abscesses, it is important to immediately see a veterinarian. Root canal therapy and extraction are required. Even with the appropriate antibiotics, the infection can remain active, and the tooth may abscess again.
Tooth root abscesses can be very painful and should be treated immediately. To control the infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. An anti-inflammatory and/or pain relief medication may also be prescribed.
Although it is a very serious procedure, it is also routine and relatively safe for dogs. If the abscess becomes too large, extraction may be necessary. To prevent infection from returning, antibiotics will likely be given after either procedure.
Your veterinarian may suggest warm, moist compresses to reduce swelling if you suspect that your dog has an abscess. Do this several times per day if your dog is allowed.
Your vet will likely prescribe pain medication and antibiotics to your dog if he or she suspects that your puppy has a tooth root infection. These can be used to manage your dog’s symptoms until it can undergo a dental procedure.
It is important to keep in mind that although your dog may feel better after taking these medications, they are only temporary. Your dog still requires a dental procedure to treat the abscessed teeth. If you don’t, your dog will experience the same symptoms and pain as before.
There is no home remedy that can relieve the pain or infection in your dog. Some treatments can even prove to be dangerous. Follow the advice of your vet.
Two methods can be used to treat a tooth root abscess. Temporary relief can be provided by pain medication and antibiotics. These are used to treat symptoms of a tooth roots abscess until your dog has a scheduled dental procedure. The only way to give your dog relief is to perform one of these two procedures:
Extraction of the tooth
Your veterinarian will then carefully extract the infected tooth. Next, he or she will clean out the entire tooth socket. Your vet will then close the gums by stitching them.
The sutures are absorbed so they don’t have to be removed. Your dog’s gums should heal in 10-14 days. This option is available to most general practitioners vets.
Root canal therapy
Root canals for dogs are similar to those in humans. Root canals require specialized equipment and training. Your vet may refer you to a veterinarian if your dog is interested in this option. The dentist will extract the affected pulp tissue and replace it with dental material.
Root canal therapy is usually performed by veterinary dentists on the most functional and large teeth, such as the canine teeth and the large premolars or molars. Root canal therapy is not for all teeth.
Your veterinarian dentist will advise you on which option is best based on how damaged the crown is and how severe the infection is.
Risks with dental abscess treatments in dogs
Dog owners are often confused about the results of both these procedures and want to know two things. We understand that you may have similar concerns. This is why we address your concerns when we treat dental abscesses for dogs.
Dogs can still chew after their teeth are removed
How will my dog chew after you have removed a tooth or teeth? This is a common concern for dog owners, but don’t be afraid to ask. After your vet has removed the sore tooth, your dog will be able to eat normally.
Many dogs eat better when their mouth isn’t hurting. To ensure comfort for your dog, your vet may use nerve blocks and pain medication post-op to keep it comfortable.
Some dogs have severe dental problems that require the removal of all or most of their teeth. These dogs need to be switched to soft food. They will eat with great joy and energy once their mouths are clean and free of infection.
For dental procedures, your dog might need to be under general anesthesia. Dog parents may be concerned about this as well. General anesthesia is essential for dogs undergoing dental procedures.
Your dentist may ask you to sit quietly while you take X-rays, clean your teeth, and perform dental surgery. However, I don’t know of any dog that would do this. General anesthesia is essential for the safety and comfort of your dog and your vet’s ability to work safely in your dog’s mouth.
Your veterinary team will make every effort to ensure that your dog is safe while under anesthesia. Your vet might recommend the following:
- Bloodwork is done to determine if your dog has a healthy liver and kidneys.
- The size and shape of the heart, trachea diameter, and lung patterns are all determined by chest X-rays. This is particularly important for dogs with a murmur in the heart, a collapsed trachea, paralysis of the lungs, or any other respiratory or cardiac conditions.
- Additional tests may be required depending on your dog’s medical condition.
Concerns about anesthesia for the elderly dogs
Many pet parents wonder if their dog is too old to receive anesthesia or if they are too sick to have surgery. If your vet is aware of these conditions, they can often find safe anesthetic protocols for your dog.
Your veterinary team can answer any questions you may have about your dog’s reaction to anesthesia. You can ask them if they think the anesthetic plan could be modified to suit your dog’s needs.
Your vet might refer you to a facility with a board-certified veterinarian anesthesiologist or a veterinary dentist if your dog has a more complex case.
It can be frightening to think about your dog under anesthesia. However, it is important to remember that a tooth root abscess can also pose risks if it is not treated.
Sometimes, an infection in the mouth can spread to other organs such as the heart or kidneys. The abscessed tooth could cause severe dental pain throughout your dog’s lifetime.