I hear the word toothache and I flinch. I actually can feel it. How about you?
If so you are not alone (there is actually an official) National Toothache Day
I don’t know about you, but generally I don’t really look forward to seeing the dentist (hey, he is a really nice guy for sure, but teeth are SENSITIVE) – but I remember one time I broke a bit of tooth and I was just about beating down their door to get seen.
So, do pets get toothache? The evidence is an overwhelming “yes”
The problem is that your pet may well hide the pain from you.
Here is where your pet is different to you – as a human you can speak about the feeling and take action to fix it (could be tablets, dentist appointment or chewing on a clove depending on your preferences).
I have now seen a few thousand animals with dental issues over the years – and most often they do NOT draw your attention to the toothache. However, if you look the signs are there for all to see.
- Red gums. Redness = inflammation and inflammation presence is painful. Believe it or not, inflammation presence indicates something has been going on for a while.
- Have a look in your pets mouth. Is there more tartar on the teeth on one side, than the other? That means for some reason your pet is chewing unevenly and that will almost certainly be due to dental related pain.
- Smelly breath. Not a reliable sign of toothache, but with our dogs in particular with the back molars, we not uncommonly get that smell. Not always easy to look at the back molars!
- Change in appetite. Amazingly not often present. Their biology and instincts mean that they cope with pain differently to us humans. Our pets don’t complain, but get on with life. Of course you don’t want the pain to be present in anyone that you love, but there you go – our pets show signs of the pain differently to our human family members.
It is impressive how quickly veterinary dentistry has advanced the way it can quickly and accurately identify dental issues, and take action to resolve this – compared to when I first started caring for my clients pets dental needs. This means the possibility of identifying dental issues early -and taking action to resolve this are far higher
Dental xrays are now something we use every day (and rightly so – it is not possible to identify the underlying issues around tooth without them), and whether the tooth involved can and should be cleaned, saved, extracted or otherwise dealt with is simply a conversation at that time on the certain knowledge of exactly what is going on.
Take a couple of minutes now to have a look inside the wonderful world of your pets mouth!