Abscessed Pet Teeth

By April 13, 2017Uncategorized
An abscessed tooth is an advanced form of an infected tooth, and is most commonly seen on the upper jaw just below the dog or cat’s eye. This condition is usually caused by a fractured tooth that has been infected by the oral bacteria and the tooth eventually dies. The bacteria will travel through the infected root canal system and gain access to the jaw through the bottom of the roots. Once the infection reaches the jaw, it also has access to the entire body, including vital organs, through the blood vessels.
 
 The veterinarians in Markham  note that these teeth have been dead and infected for a long time (sometimes years) and have just recently showed outward clinical signs. The patient has been subclinically infected for a long time. The infected teeth harbor anaerobic bacteria which create a constant low grade infection through the apex and into the surrounding bone.
 Initially the veterinarians in Markham would focus on relieving the pain and decreasing the amount of infection with pain medications and  broad spectrum antibiotics. This treatment should alleviate the acute issues, but it will not solve the problem. The veterinarians in Markham must definitively treat the tooth, and treatment should be performed before the antibiotics are finished to avoid developing resistance.

The bacterial infection causes bone destruction at the area of root tip. If allowed to progress without treatment, the infection can travel through the bone of the upper jaw and break out as an abscess either on the gums over the tooth, or on the skin under the eye. This is the only time that a root canal infection is usually noticed by the owner, as there is a visible wound on the pet’s face under the eye. With most dental infections, most dogs and cats do not show any outward signs of disease.

Treating the infected tooth will almost always resolve the condition.  The veterinarians in Markham may recommend either root canal therapy or extraction. For small teeth like incisors, extraction is a good option, but for large teeth (like canines and the big chewing teeth), root canal therapy is recommended.

It is important to understand that treating this condition with antibiotics alone will not resolve this problem, but will only suppress the symptoms temporarily. The infection almost always returns, and is still infecting the body between visible flare-ups. Once the tooth becomes infected, there is no way to effectively medicate the root canal system. The reason the infection returns, is that the tooth protects the bacteria within it. The pet’s immune system and the antibiotics cannot get into the tooth (it is like a fortress). So when the antibiotics are gone, the bacteria leave the tooth again and the infection resumes.  Further therapy is therefore required, regardless of the resolution of the acute problem. The infection will smoulder for a period of time and then recur, leaving the patient to suffer through that entire intervening period.   This means the pet is still in pain, and their body is still suffering with infection, even if no external signs are present. Furthermore, the bacteria may become resistant to the antibiotics if the infection is not completely resolved making it even more difficult for the veterinarians in Markham to help alleviate the acute symptoms of infection.

For these reasons, it is imperative to treat the inciting cause of the infection by dealing with the infected tooth.  Ideally, the veterinarians in Markham recommend doing this  before the antibiotics run out.  Do not assume that the infection is cleared because the swelling is gone. The problem will not be cured until the tooth is definitively treated.

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Sincerely,

Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of  Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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