Canine Dental Care
















"Over 80% of dogs over the age of

three have active dental disease."

How common is dental disease in dogs?

Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions we see. Over 80% of dogs over the age of three have active dental disease. Few dogs show obvious signs of dental disease, so it's up to you and us to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.

Are dental problems the same in pets and people?



No. In people, the most common problem is tooth decay. It's caused by the loss of calcium from the tooth's enamel, resulting in painful, infected cavities. In dogs, tooth decay is rare. The most common dental problems seen in dogs are: periodental diseases and fractured teeth.



What are periodontal diseases?







"Periodontal disease is a term used to describe
inflammation or infection of the tissues
surrounding the tooth."



How does tartar form and why is it a problem? 



Can plaque and tartar be prevented?


The rate at which plaque becomes mineralized will be much quicker in some dogs than in others.

The best way to prevent tartar build-up is through daily tooth brushing using canine toothpaste that is specifically designed to be swallowed. Unfortunately, even though it is the best form of plaque control, most dog owners do not brush their dog’s teeth daily. Special dog chew toys and treats may also help reduce or delay plaque and tartar build-up. Some pet foods have been specifically formulated as dental diets that mechanically and/or chemically assist in plaque removal. Water additives are also available.

The Veterinary Oral Health Council evaluates dental products for effectiveness. You can visit their website ( for a list of plaque control products.



Will feeding dry food remove tartar?






















What causes fractured teeth in dogs?





What is done to treat fractured dog teeth?












This client information sheet is based on material written by: Jan Bellows, DVM, Dipl. AVDC, ABVP

© Copyright 2013 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

What do broken, chipped or fractured teeth look like in dogs?



Periodental disease is a term used to describe inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. Periodental diseases occur when the acumulation of plaque and tarter either priodental pockets or gum recession around the tooth's attachment. Left untreated, the infection often spreads deeper into the tooth socket, destroying the bone.

The mouth is home to thousands of bacteria. As these bacteria multiply on the tooth’s surface, they form an invisible layer called plaque or biofilm. Some of this plaque is removed naturally by the dog's tongue and chewing habits. If allowed to remain on the tooth’s surface, plaque thickens, becomes mineralized  and creates tartar. This tartar accumulates above and below the gum line leading to inflammation (gingivitis) and further accumulation of plaque which leads to periodontal diseases.

Pet food manufacturers have recently developed new dental diets that can help reduce the formation of plaque and tarter in your dog. Once tartar has formed, however, professional scaling and polishing under general anesthesia will be needed.

The center of the tooth, called pulp, is covered by hard dentin and ever harder enamel. Fractures either expose sensitive dentin, termed uncomplicated fractures, or the pulp which contains nerves and blood vessels, termed complicated fractures.

Most tooth fractures occur when dogs chew on objects that are too hard, like ice cubes, bones, nylon chews,

antlers and horse hoofs. Any chew to or dental treat fed to a dog shold bend and "give" upon compression.

If the pulp is exposed, root canal therapy or extraction are the treatment options. Leaving the tooth without treatment is not a good idea as infection will have direct entry into your dog. With gentleness, patience and perseverance you can provide the oral care they need toprevent dental disease.

We do dental exams, please contact our hospital for an appointment and a doctor will examine your pet's teeth & answer any questions you may have about your pet's dental care and costs associated with a dental cleaning.