Mouth and Teeth Disorders in Dogs and Cats
Contents:
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Carnissal Tooth Abscess 
Dental Disease in Dogs & Cats 
Gingivitis
Periodontal Disease 
Salivary Cyst
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Carnissial Tooth Abscess
General Information:
The last premolar of the upper jaw (carnissial tooth) frequently becomes infected.  This tooth has 3 long roots and when infected, extend into the surrounding bone, break through the skin, and appear as a small draining wound below the eye.
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Facial injuries may also cause carnissial tooth infections.
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Extraction of the affected tooth is usually necessary to allow drainage and prevent recurrence of infection.  General anesthesia is necessary, as triple-rooted teeth are difficult to remove and often require splitting before extraction.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Dental Disease in Dogs and Cats
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General Information:
Dental calculus (tartar) is composed of various mineral salts, organic material and food particles.  In the early stages of accumulation, the material is soft (plaque), but it later hardens and adheres to the teeth.  Continual accumulation causes inflammation of the gums and eventual recession of the gums and loose teeth.  The breath becomes very odorous and the mouth becomes a dangerous source of infection.  Untreated tooth and gum disease may allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause damage to the valves of the heart.
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Prevention:


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Gingivitis
General Information:
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums.  The most common cause is the build-up of dental tartar at the junction of the gums and teeth.  Other causes include bacterial and viral infections, foreign material (hair, food, plant material), and reactions to irritating substances.
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Gingivitis is a progressive disease, and the early stages (slight reddening of the gum margin) are difficult to see.  As the disease progresses, the gums thicken, bad breath develops, and sores or ulcers may appear in the gums.  Untreated gingivitis frequently results in loss of teeth and more serious gum and tooth disease.
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Treatment of gingivitis begins with a thorough cleaning of the teeth.  This is done under a general anesthetic to allow cleaning of all tooth surfaces and a more thorough examination of the mouth.  Regular dental care is usually necessary to prevent the recurrence on gingivitis or to control chronic gingivitis.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Periodontal Disease
General Information:
Periodontal disease is a process that causes the breakdown of the structures that cradle the teeth in their normal position.  The gum line forms the first line of defense against periodontal disease.  Bacteria collect here and can destroy this defense barrier.  Bacteria then gain access to the vulnerable periodontal structures and damage the tooth.  This process causes the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.
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Brownish-black material called tartar (a concentration of mineralized bacteria) may collect on the teeth, and/or the gums may bleed.  Such signs indicate periodontal disease.
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Treatment of periodontal disease includes removing tartar and polishing the teeth.  Surgical trimming of excess gum tissue may also be required to eliminate the pockets that form at the gum line and collect foreign material and bacteria.  A general anesthetic is usually necessary for these procedures.  Oral hygiene may be performed at home by brushing or wiping the teeth with special toothpastes.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Salivary Cyst
General Information:
Saliva from the salivary glands travels through ducts (passageways) to the mouth.  Occasionally a duct ruptures, and the saliva escapes into the surrounding tissue.  A soft, fluid-filled cyst slowly develops near the neck over months or even years.
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The best treatment is surgical removal of the salivary gland causing the cyst.  Other measures usually produce only temporary results.  Even with surgical correction, recurrence is possible, and additional surgery may be necessary.  Surgical removal of the glandular tissue in the cyst, however, reduce recurrences.