It may come as a surprise to you, but just as in humans, dogs need to visit the doggy tooth doctor from time to time. They are as us, if not more dependent on their teeth, so keeping them in good shape and healthy will probably mean that your dog will live a longer and certainly healthier life.
What is enamel hypoplasia in dogs?
This is a condition where the enamel, which is the outer layer of the tooth, is malformed for any reason. This exposes the pulp to damage and decay and since the mouth is always exposed to bacteria it could lead to inflammation and the development of infection. These teeth may be more prone to tartar formation as well as abnormal tooth root development.
Some dog breeds may be predisposed to such pathologies, like the Poodle, but in other cases, malformation of the enamel may be due to trauma. Those teeth will look different from the other ones, meaning you can notice them change color and feel a bit rougher. Dogs that have teeth like these may also feel pain whenever they try to chew, which is why they may be more reluctant to eat solid food.
What are the symptoms in dogs with enamel hypoplasia?
This condition is usually visible from the youngest age. Puppies as old as a couple of weeks could start showing signs of pathology related to their teeth. The most commonly seen signs are:
- tummy problems
- nutritional deficits
- change of color on one or more teeth
How is enamel hypoplasia diagnosed in dogs?
Every examination starts with the vet asking the owner what they have noticed and when those changes have started. After that is done, the vet will perform a full physical examination to check the dogs’ overall health. When they check their teeth they will examine them. In many cases, the vet will recommend doing dental x-rays. This allows the vet to learn of the condition of each tooth which helps them understand how stable the teeth are. After the check-up is finished, the vet will know which course of treatment will be the best option for your dog.
Treatment of enamel hypoplasia in dogs
The treatment for this condition is always done under general anesthesia. Dogs are not really happy when you try to touch their mouth, let alone do things that could feel strange and hurt a bit. Regarding the teeth, there are several things the vet will do. They will probably use ultrasound to clean the damaged enamel. Teeth that are already severely damaged will most likely need to come out because if left to stay, this could lead to the spread of the infection in the surrounding tissue.
Even though enamel hypoplasia may be something that your puppy gets from an early age, that does not mean that as owners you should let other teeth get affected too. Some owners may find it funny, but every vet will most certainly tell you to teach your dog about teeth brushing, or at least get used to the process of it. Dental health is just as important for dogs as it is for us.
A dog owner, in the US, could be paying between $700 and $2500 for treating their dog’s enamel hypoplasia.