Dental cleanings are an opportunity to clean and preserve your dog's teeth, but they are also a rare opportunity to get inside your dog's mouth and really take a look around. By taking x-rays while your dog is under anesthesia and examining its gums and other tissues, your veterinarian may be able to spot and identify health problems that might not be noticeable otherwise. These are four common oral health problems in dogs that may only be apparent during a dental cleaning.
Damage to the Teeth
It's normally difficult to convince dogs to sit still for x-rays, but while your dog is unconscious for its cleaning, you may want to opt for some imaging. These x-rays can reveal hidden tooth issues, such as cracks or cavities, that could be causing your dog pain. Because dogs have a natural urge to hide their own discomfort, this may be the first sign that the tooth is damaged at all. Once a bad tooth is found, it can be taken care of during the cleaning to avoid putting your dog through surgery again.
Pets suffer from the same gum disorders as their owners, including periodontitis, or gum disease. Advanced gum disease is usually evident even while your dog is awake, but anesthesia allows your veterinarian to get a closer look at the full extent of the gum loss. This can also make an earlier diagnosis of gum disease possible, catching the disorder while it is still relatively easy to reverse.
When a dog's tooth experiences significant decay, it may eventually collapse into a painful, swollen abscess. Your dog may try to disguise the pain, but an abscess can make eating a challenge and leave your dog feeling anxious and weak. Depending on the severity of the abscess, your vet may be able to treat it during and after the cleaning or need to pull the tooth entirely. With an extra kick from prescribed antibiotics, the infection should subside and disappear while your dog recovers.
Growths Within the Mouth
Oral cancer is rare in dogs, and most growths in or around the mouth are benign. It is, however, possible for malignant melanomas to form, and the sooner they are discovered, the better your pet's prognosis. By scheduling regular dental cleanings, you can not only protect your dog from cavities, but also from potentially life-threatening illnesses. Call your veterinarian's office to learn about the dog dental cleaning services they offer and to schedule a preliminary examination for your dog today.