Dog cavities occur when there is decay on the dental hard tissues caused by oral bacteria on the tooth surface. Such cases are rare and only account for 5% of dogs’ affected. This is because the shape of their teeth makes it difficult for cavities to develop. But tooth decay is a problem in pets like in humans. So you are advised to be on the look-out since they may cause a serious problem when they occur.
It’s difficult to see any sign from your dog when it has cavities. The best way is to examine the teeth yourself. If you see a black or dark brown canine dental stains, then chances are your dog has cavities. Even though dogs won’t show any signs of cavities, the following should act as warning signs.
- Lack of appetite
- More drooling than usual
- Bad breath
- A poor diet high in fermentable carbohydrates
- Poor oral and general hygiene
- Low saliva pH
- Abnormal formation of teeth close together
- Poorly mineralized tooth enamel
The vet will carry out a thorough visual examination and also tapping on suspected areas using a sharp dental instrument. An x-ray may also be required to determine the extent of the damage. The vet will then group your dog cavities with its stage of development as follows:
Stage 1: Enamel
Stage 2: Enamel and dentin
Stage 3: The damage has extended to the pulp chamber
Stage 4: Significant crown structural damage
Stage 5: Severe crown damage and roots exposed
The vet will determine the treatment, depending on the stage of development. If the cavities are at stage 1 or 2, the vet will use a fluoride bonding agent or fluoride varnish to treat the cavities. When the cavities are at stage 3 and above, the case is irreversible, and the treatment will vary depending on the progression.
Oral hygiene for dogs should not be ignored. After the treatment, you will be required to schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor the progress of the affected tooth. Ensure you examine and clean your dog’s teeth regularly to protect its overall health.