Dental urgencies and emergencies

Dental and oral diseases are not infrequent among pets. Some of the problems evolve into real emergencies and require urgent care.  

Trauma to the face or mouth area may result in loose or broken teeth or bones, contusions and laceration of the tongue and gums, significant bleeding and considerable pain. Common causes include car accidents, dog bites, blunt object, falls etc.

On occasion, fractured teeth are related to self-inflicted damage, by chewing on hard objects or rocks. Foreign bodies, such as twigs, bones or toys are also common causes of oral lesions and wounds. Traumatized pets should be approached carefully. Extreme pain will cause an animal to bite and behave unpredictably. The best thing an owner can do is to rap the pet in a blanket and get to the vet ASAP. Local pain and trauma can be initially managed with cleaning and ice packs. Bleeding may be controlled with moderate pressure over the area.  

Tumors of the oral cavity are usually noticed late, when they become large or bleed. Many oral tumors are malignant and carry poor prognosis. They quiet often mimic inflammation and go untreated or under treated for a while. That is why frequent oral and dental examination is so important. Early detection and intervention save lives.  

Sudden swelling under the eye indicates a tooth root infection and an abscess. Sometimes the abscess will rupture through the facial skin and drain its content outside the body. These cases should be treated promptly with antibiotics and extraction of the affected teeth.  

Inflammations and infections of the oral cavity are among the most common problems. They might persist for a while as low-grade processes and go unnoticed until they become an emergency. Swelling and redness of the gums are signs of gingivitis. A whitish or bloody discharge may develop in advanced cases. In cats, gingivitis is very common and is often related to viral infections. A build-up of plaque and tartar predispose the teeth and gums to disease.  

With severe gum disease, you can detect a foul breath odor called halitosis. Pets may also have a decreased appetite, selective eating of soft foods, and behavioral changes related to eating (dropping food from mouth or running away from the food dish). Infections can extend from the mouth to the adjacent bone and bloodstream and internal organs such as the liver, heart and kidneys. These cases require treatment with antibiotics and other appropriate medications.  

We recommend daily brushing (with tooth paste and brushes made for pets) and yearly/ semi-annual check-ups as basic prophylaxis. Dental scaling and polishing should be done promptly when necessary.  These preemptive measures will help keep your pet's mouth healthy and you smiling.

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Copyright © 2004 - 2013
Yuval Nir
Naperville University Commons Animal Clinic- The-vet.net
1827 Wehrli rd
Naperville , IL , 60565
(630) 544-3333
Veterinarians, Animal hospital