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Dogs + Dental

  • Oral melanoma ("malignant melanoma" or "melanosarcoma") is a tumor of melanin pigment producing cells (melanocytes) in the mouth. These cancers are rapidly growing and are rarely completely cured by surgical removal. Regrowth in the mouth and spread to other parts of the body (metastasis) are common.

  • Like us, dogs can develop oral masses. Some will grow slowly and won't spread to other locations (benign), while others will spread to different areas of the body causing great harm (malignant).

  • Occasionally, teeth in dogs do not come out in the right location, which may create pain when they close their mouths. When this happens, decisions on what to do come down to either moving the teeth to comfortable positions, decreasing the height of the teeth so they do not stick into the opposite jaw, or moving the teeth to comfortable and functional positions.

  • Like humans, dogs have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. There are 28 deciduous teeth, also known as their primary, baby, milk, or puppy teeth, and 42 permanent teeth, also known as their adult teeth.

  • Plaque is a gummy substance that forms on the teeth within a few hours after a meal. Within 24 hours, plaque begins to harden by combining with salts that are present in the saliva. As the plaque continues to accumulate and mineralize, it eventually transforms into tartar.

  • Dental x-rays in dogs are similar to those taken in humans. An x-ray machine using small amounts of radiation, is used to see the inside of your dog's teeth and those areas below the gum line that are hidden from view.

  • Tooth resorption (TR) is a common oral abnormality seen in dogs. Although the premolars of the lower jaw are most commonly affected, lesions can be found on any tooth.

  • A tooth root abscess is a severe infection that develops around the root of a tooth usually occurring from a broken or traumatized tooth.

  • If a tooth is out of place but it's not interfering with other teeth, penetrating the gum line or affecting how your dog eats, a functional bite exists. Repairing a functional bite for cosmetic purposes is not necessary and is considered unethical.