When you can't look in your pet's mouth - Dr. Marty Becker

When you can’t look in your pet’s mouth

Thursday, Feb 5th, 2015 | By Dr. Marty Becker

What does it mean when your pet doesn’t want you to look in his mouth? And what should you do about it?

My Pet Connection writing partner, Kim Thornton, had this serious problem with her dog Keeper recently:

Keeper did not want me to even lift his lip to look at his teeth, and his breath was terrible. It had been only six months since his last dental exam and cleaning, but clearly something was wrong.

Turns out that not only did he have an abscessed tooth, but dental X-rays also showed a large amount of bone resorption, a bone remodeling process that invades the tooth structure. It’s normal when it involves the loss of baby or puppy teeth, but veterinarians are seeing it more often in the permanent teeth of dogs. Keeper had to have three teeth removed.

Keeper’s experience is just one of the reasons that veterinarians are adding dental X-rays to the professional cleaning process. His veterinarian, Gershon L. Alaluf, DVM, explains: “When you look at a dog’s teeth and see tartar, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t tell you what’s going on underneath the gumline. Usually there’s infection, and on dental X-rays we can see pockets of infection, plus root resorption and bone resorption.”

Read the rest of the story, more about pet dental health, getting senior pets in and out of the car, and more, in this week’s Pet Connection!