Medical Information Cards N°05. Veterinary Dentistry: 3 Frequently Asked Questions


The bad breath of your companion is not inevitable: This is not normal. This odor is in the vast majority of cases the reflection of an oral INFECTION. Indeed, every day, the biofilm contained in the mouth of your companion is deposited on its teeth. This biofilm consists of SALIVA and bacteria. By adhering to the teeth, it forms the DENTAL PLATE or BACTERIAL PLATE (invisible).

Depending on the more or less fluid character of this biofilm, the plaque will adhere more or less to the teeth. In 2 weeks, this bacterial plaque will become MINERALIZED to form visible TARTRE. Those whose "saliva" component will be very watery will have a bacterial plaque little adherent to the teeth so little tartar. Those who will have a very smooth tooth enamel will have easier elimination of plaque, less tartar.
It is therefore easy to understand that animals (and humans ...) are not equal in terms of the formation of tartar.

Tartar is therefore the sign of a DENTAL INFECTION. It gradually slips under the gum and causes an attack of the periodontium (= system of attachment of the tooth, bone ligaments, genvices ...) and leads to a dental infection at the origin of the ODOR.

=> Descaling is not a luxury for your companion, it is a health act because many diseases "happen" by the dental vector.

A dental infection is often a silent disease that evolves at low noise and is suddenly declared more or less acute. It is the famous "RAGE DE DENTS" well known in man and which motivates an emergency visit to the dentist !. But your companion does NOT SPEAK and often he manages in silence, suffers in silence, or falls ill as a result of his oral problem passed unnoticed. The sensitivity of the teeth is under the control of the NERF TRIJUMEAU (voluminous nerve of the face) via its 2nd and 3rd branches, the maxillary nerve and the mandibular nerve:

Your animal therefore has a perception of the pain of its oral environment via lesions of the gums, teeth and all the inflammatory phenomena generated by oral trauma.

But this manifestation of pain is insidious and difficult to perceive for the neophyte because it does not resemble the usual notions of oral pain encountered in man. Moreover, it is installed gradually, so that the owner does not realize its development, worse still it considers that normal.

How can this pain manifest itself? Signs of oral or maxillofacial pain in animals are as follows:
- decreased feeding not by loss of appetite but by pain when taking in the mouth of the food
- slower than usual
- Dropping of the oral games (ball, rope, ... any game implicating the bite ...)
- refusal to allow one's face to be touched,
- wearing head and neck curved downwards
- sleep in a ball with buried head
- scratches the chops
- maintenance of a semi-open mouth
- contraction of the masticatory muscles
- swelling of the face

- eye and / or nasal infection
- ... ..

There are signs that are more visible and visible to you:
- bleeding of the gums
- orbital abscess
- loss of teeth
- tartar
- bad breath


Many factors play a role in answering this question. It is nevertheless possible to reason on the basis of 3 factors:

The age of the tooth
The intrinsic lesion of this tooth
The lesions of the periodontium (structures surrounding the teeth)


A tooth lives throughout the life of the animal. In its eruption, the tooth is said to be immature and has an open apex, a wide pulp cavity and a fine dentin:

Image mandible of an 8 month old cocker
When reaching a young tooth, the intervention and diagnosis delay must be early in order to preserve as much as possible the vitality of the pulp cavity (partial pulpectomy and pulp capping) and thus allow the tooth to heal, Not become infected and then complete its development. If the pulp cavity is affected too much (irreversible pulpitis or pulp necrosis) the tooth then stops its development and will remain immature, therefore fragile. It is imperative then in order to preserve the tooth to achieve a closure of its apex and a total pulpectomy and complement radicular.
Depending on the duration of the infection, the prognosis of preservation of the immature tooth varies:

- If the intervention time is less than 48h, the prognosis for preservation of the tooth is close to 90%
- Between 2 and 7 days the prognosis is close to 50%
- Beyond 10-15 days extraction is often to be considered.


We will here mainly determine the cases with pulpal involvement of the cases without pulpal involvement.

In the case of simple coronary involvement, a reconstruction by photopolymerizable resin can be carried out:

In the case of pulpal involvement, consideration should be given to the degree of involvement of the pulp and its break-in or not. The pulp organ (vessels, nerve, undulating cells) is fragile and its involvement can be irreversible (dental mortification aseptic, change of color of the tooth ...). In this case, to avoid a later infection by hematogenous (by blood) or by the periodontium (the gingiva ...) a canal treatment is essential.

In the case of pulmonary involvement with burglary (visible pulp) infection is inevitable and a root canal treatment adapted to the extent of the lesion is necessary:

- Pulping and Coronary Reconstruction
- Canal treatment and coronary reconstruction
- Extraction if underlying bone abscess or root reconstruction


It is of course unthinkable to imagine keeping a tooth if its immediate environment (the periodontium) does not allow it. Also, the exploration of the tooth must allow at least 2/3 of this periodontium to be preserved. When lesioning more than 1/3 of the lateral periodontium the reconstruction will be difficult and an extraction is often to be considered.


Bad breath should be taken into consideration. It may be the first sign of oral suffering. Today, veterinarians have become aware of the importance of oral hygiene and are able to offer you real dental treatments as your dentist would do to avoid dental extraction as much as possible.