What is Tooth Enamel Disorder?
If your dog is severely ill, possible with a high fever or other medical issues while the enamel is being formed on its adult teeth, it may mean that the enamel won’t be properly formed. As a result, the dentin is exposed, causing a tooth enamel disorder called enamel hypoplasia. The teeth that are being affected by this condition will be hardened, appearing discolored with tartar building up quicker than normal. During the stage of development, if you are administering tetracycline derivatives to your puppy, this, too, can result in discoloration of the enamel. The staining will be permanent and therefore, it is important to administer these drugs after the puppy is six months old. Before you do anything else, call your veterinarian because this is a medical condition that needs immediate attention.
Tooth enamel disorder, medically known as enamel hypoplasia, is a condition where the outer layer of the tooth enamel has not been properly formed. This condition typically affects several teeth.
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Symptoms of Tooth Enamel Disorder in Dogs
When the tooth enamel is affected this way, it leads to sensitivity of the teeth. Your beloved pet can experience pain when eating cold or hot food. Additionally, some of the symptoms may include:
- Irregular surface on the tooth enamel
- Discolored tooth enamel
- Tiny dentin tubules, but sufficiently large to attract bacteria in the tooth pulp
- Swelling and inflammation of the pulp
- Accumulated plaque
- Potential gingivitis
- Gum disease
Causes of Tooth Enamel Disorder in Dogs
Canine distemper is a virus that can affect your young puppy, especially when vaccination has not yet been done and this can subsequently cause tooth enamel disorder. Additionally, other causes include:
- Extended periods where your canine is struck with fever
- Injury while baby tooth is being extracted
- Fractures or other trauma to the teeth
- Calcification of the enamel
- Hidden inflammation under the enamel
Diagnosis of Tooth Enamel Disorder in Dogs
Even though the symptoms and causes may be quite noticeable, you still need to take your pet to the veterinarian for a physical examination and diagnosis. The veterinarian will probably do a full oral examination that includes an X-ray. With the X-ray, the veterinarian will be able to determine whether the roots are dead or not. The veterinarian may have to use a dental radiograph for an in-depth examination of every tooth. While being examined and prior to any possible tooth extraction, the blood vessels will be located and monitored as well as the nerves and nasal cavity.
The veterinarian will assess the proximity of the enamel deformity and whether the ideal option would be reshaping the dog’s teeth instead of extraction. The sensitivity of the teeth will also be taken into consideration so as to minimize any damage. It would be in your best interest to provide as much detail about your pet in order to make the diagnosis more accurate for the appropriate treatment.
Treatment of Tooth Enamel Disorder in Dogs
Treatment will obviously depend on the extent of the problem, in addition to the available equipment. Your veterinarian may make an attempt at creating a smoother surface for the teeth. Before the veterinarian attempts any dental work, antibiotics and medication will be administered to help with the pain. The diseased enamel will be removed gently by using a dental instrument to scrub the enamel. Of course, the veterinarian has to be extremely careful not to take off too much of the enamel during the process, trying as best as possible to save as many teeth. An ultrasound will be done to ensure this. Several additional treatments will include:
- Deep cleaning
- Teeth brushing
- Tooth examination to look for cavities that need to be filled
- Fluoride treatment to reduce sensitivity and strengthen the enamel
Don’t try to use fluoride on your own because too much of it is toxic and could result in enamel damage. The teeth will be sealed using a bonding agent if the inner part of the teeth has been exposed. This is done to protect the inner teeth and its surface.
Recovery of Tooth Enamel Disorder in Dogs
If the diagnosis is a tooth enamel disorder, the veterinarian will probably recommend frequent dental cleaning, at least once each year or more. This will depend on the condition of your canine’s teeth. Administering home care routinely is also important. This will include regular brushing of the teeth. If you are not familiar with how this is done, be sure to ask the veterinarian for an in-office demonstration of the appropriate technique. It is highly recommended that you feed your canine with soft food, especially after a tooth extraction is done. Be sure to observe your pet and to prevent potential injury, monitor the behavior during the healing process.