Dental DiseaseSurgical ConditionsTreatment

What’s Hiding Below Your Gums??

By January 4, 2012 No Comments
Kaya the dog, went under anesthesia for a dental cleaning. Dental radiographs showed she had a cavity and damaged teeth requiring extractions. Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital treated her to combat dental disease; including red gums, bad breath and cavities.

Our Seattle veterinarians explain the importance of regular pet dental cleanings and evaluations

Kaya came in for a Grade 2 dental cleaning and looking at her teeth on exam, no extractions were expected. Grade 2 dental disease means that there is brown tartar on the teeth, red gums with no gum recession and some mouth odor.

Once our Seattle veterinarians had Kaya under anesthesia we saw an oral resorptive lesion on her premolar. In people these are similar to cavities. It is common for cats to develop resorptive lesions, but they are seen less often in dogs.

In the top picture, the red arrow points to the tooth. On the radiograph the red arrow points to the dark area where the enamel is missing. Frequently you will not see these lesions by just looking at the tooth because the gum is hiding them. Unfortunately, a filling will not repair these types of lesions and this tooth was extracted.

The bottom picture shows 2 premolars that look completely normal on exam. In the radiograph we can see that the root of the first tooth is resorbing (dissolving). We removed the residual crown of the tooth and sutured the gums to prevent any further issues with this tooth and socket.

Dogs and cats do not show dental discomfort the same way people do because of their instinct to eat in order to survive. We know that these dental problems do cause them pain, just as it does in people, and that is why it is so important to do a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation under anesthesia.

Kaya recovered and healed from her procedure like a champ!

For more information on pet dental health care visit the links below:


Veterinary Partner 

American Veterinary Dental College


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