Bacteria, Plaque and Tartar Average Cost

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What is Bacteria, Plaque and Tartar?

Dental problems are a common complaint at veterinary clinics. Along with chipped or broken teeth, dogs can also develop painful cavities, periodontal disease, and hard deposits of plaque and tartar on the teeth. These disorders of the mouth not only are started by bacteria, but they usually harbor bacteria as well, giving them ideal environments in which to multiply. The bacteria are then able to spread to other parts of the body as well. Your pet’s dental health should be evaluated by a veterinarian annually.

An overabundance of bacterial growth and accumulation on and around the teeth can cause dental disorders such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, and infected abscesses.

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Symptoms of Bacteria, Plaque and Tartar in Dogs

Tartar buildup and plaque are just the most visually obvious representation of an overabundance of bacteria growing in the mouth. Other symptoms can include: 

  • Bleeding gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Lethargy
  • Loose teeth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain when chewing
  • Pus filled nasal discharge
  • Pus in the gumline
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tooth loss
  • Unilateral swelling under the eye
  • Weight loss

Types 

  • Plaque - Plaque is a film on the teeth that is composed of bacteria; when this colorless biofilm accumulates, it can harden into tartar 
  • Tartar - When plaque is hardened into calcified deposits on the teeth by mineral salts it is referred to as tartar
  • Gingivitis - When bacteria accumulate at the gum line in either plaque or tartar, they can cause inflamed gums
  • Periodontal disease - This is a disease which attacks the structure of the teeth, usually caused by bacteria; gingivitis often occurs concurrently with periodontal disease
  • Caries - Progressive decay and crumbling of the tooth or bone
  • Dental abscess - Pus that accumulates in the teeth or gums, usually caused by a bacterial infection

Causes of Bacteria, Plaque and Tartar in Dogs

Plaque is composed of polysaccharides and glycoproteins colonized by several types of bacteria which are commonly found in the mouth. If not removed from the teeth these deposits harden and form ideal breeding places for more bacteria. As these bacteria invade the gums and teeth of your animal they can cause inflammation and bleeding of the gums, bad breath, weakened tooth and bone structure, and dangerous pockets of infection. Serious cases of dental infection can extend out into other parts of the body, causing infections in vital organs such as the heart, kidneys, and liver.

Diagnosis of Bacteria, Plaque and Tartar in Dogs

When a dog is brought into the clinic with a complaint of malodorous breath or other symptoms indicating oral disease, your veterinarian will examine the canine’s mouth for obvious signs of inflammation, bleeding, or pus. General blood tests such as a (CBC) complete blood count and biochemical profile will also be taken to gauge the patient’s overall health and check for any toxins or imbalances. A more thorough examination of the teeth and gums themselves are usually undertaken after the animal is fully sedated so that the veterinarian can probe the between the teeth and gums to check for infection without causing the dog additional discomfort. Gentle finger pressure is used on each tooth to evaluate if there is any looseness or detachment of the teeth themselves. X-ray imaging may be used to assess the health of the structures below the gumline if there is evidence of underlying tooth or bone damage.

Treatment of Bacteria, Plaque and Tartar in Dogs

Moderate to severe dental infections will most likely require that your pet be sedated or placed under general anesthesia. The veterinarian or technician handling your pet’s disorder will start by removing as much of the tartar and plaque buildup as possible. She will scale and clean each of the teeth, both above and below the gum line while assessing the extent of both infection and inflammation. In severe cases, technicians have additional surgical techniques that can assist in the eradication of the infection. In some cases, bone replacement and augmentation can help a dog retain loosened teeth, and the use of the dental flap technique allows for the brief exposure of the root of the tooth and facilitates deep pocket cleaning and difficult tooth extractions. Oral antibiotics are often administered as a matter of course after dental cleanings in canines, to prevent any systemic infections due to the disruption of a vast number of bacteria during the cleaning itself.

Recovery of Bacteria, Plaque and Tartar in Dogs

Bacterial buildup in the mouth can be avoided by regular dental health care starting at around six months of age. Regular brushing of your canine’s teeth is advised to prevent tartar from forming, and toys and treats designed to dislodge plaque from your dog’s teeth can be very helpful in between brushings. Most veterinarians advise that you bring your pet in for a full dental cleaning approximately once a year. When your dog returns home from their regular dental cleaning, they may still be somewhat confused and disoriented due to the influence of the anesthesia and a calm, quiet environment will help speed recovery.

Bacteria, Plaque and Tartar Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Noel
Terrier mix
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Tartor
swelling of gums
teeth loss

When is anesthesia used instead of sedatives and how dangerous are sedatives and anesthesia, especially to an older dog? Is it true that for small breeds bacteria from tartar can spread to other parts of the body and shorten the life span of the dog?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1409 Recommendations
Dental health is important in animals, and bacteria from plague can spread to the kidneys, liver and heart, yes. It can also cause oral disease and pain. For dental cleanings, anesthesia is needed, as animals won't keep their mouth open - sedation isn't enough for a good dental cleaning. There are risks associated with anesthesia, but blood work and supportive care through the dental cleaning can decrease those risks.

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Malo
German Shepherd
3 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Built uo tar

Built up tar. Adopted from the animal foundation in las Vegas. Rescue

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2996 Recommendations

If Malo has a buildup of tartar and plaque this would need to be removed and a full dental cleaning carried out; afterwards dry kibbles and regular teeth cleaning will help recurrence of plaque. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Boss
Japanese Chin
9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

There seems to be a build up of plaque / tartar on my dogs teeth. It is yellow/brownish in color. Also concerning is the build up extends Up into his gums for certain teeth. I have photos. I am very concerned.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2996 Recommendations
Oral hygiene is a topic which is regularly ignored by owners until it is too late especially in dogs fed wet food; a buildup of plaque can be quite large and would need to be removed by a dental check and cleaning at your Veterinarian’s Office. Poor dental hygiene doesn’t always cause issues in the mouth but may extend to the nasal cavity and systemic circulation. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Marbles
Lhasa Apso
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

rapid tarter and plaque build up

My Lhasa Apso had her teeth cleaned 1 month ago. She is 12 yrs old. This is her second dental in her 12 years. She has all her teeth. One month after this last cleaning I noticed her teeth are full of plaque/tarter!! I am concerned because it has only been 1 month. What would cause this? Why in one month I checked her teeth when she had the last dental and they did clean them, they were plaque/tarter free. Why would this happen? Does this indicate Illness? I had a full blood panel done and everything is good. Obviously she has not had rapid plaque/tarter build up in the past because this is only her second dental. HELP!! Thank you, Stacey Hendrix

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2996 Recommendations
One month is a very short period of time for the plaque to accumulate again as the formation isn’t instant; poor oral hygiene is the general cause but I’m but sure about this sudden accumulation in the period of a month. You should return to the Veterinarian which performed the cleaning and in the meantime try to keep Marbles teeth clean. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Lucy
Cattle cross bull terrier
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Very bad breath

My dog has SUPER bad breath. I told my vet this about 1 year ago & it's only got worse. She can't be examined easily, as she has to wear a muzzle.
She has been diagnosed with IBD via an endoscopy and the specialist said she has tartar & plaque present, which he said is the cause of the bad breath, so a scale & polish will be eventually be needed. She has no other symptoms apart from really bad breath, swallowing & lip smacking a fair bit. She eats with no problems at all.
I am wondering if the bacteria produced from this, could have spread to her stomach & be the cause of the IBD, as food allergy doesn't seem to be the cause.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2996 Recommendations
I don’t think that the two are related, but you should have a dental done soon to improve overall oral health regardless since the longer it goes on the worse it will get. The specific cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown, although there are various different causes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/digestive-system/diseases-of-the-stomach-and-intestines-in-small-animals/inflammatory-bowel-disease-in-small-animals

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