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Tooth Root Abscess in Dogs

A tooth root abscess is an infection in the mouth.

An abscess is an infection that is confined to a pocket, where it produces pus. During a tooth root abscess, the cavity containing the pus is around the roots of a tooth, under the gumline.

Causes of Tooth Root Abscess in Dogs

A tooth root abscess can involve any tooth, baby or adult, anywhere in the mouth. Causes of tooth root abscesses include the following:

  • Trauma that affects the tooth's pulp
  • Fracture of the crown of the tooth
  • Injury to the tooth because of malocclusion of the teeth
  • Tugging games with dogs that have baby teeth or weak teeth
  • Cavities
  • Electrical cord bites
  • Diabetes

Signs of Tooth Root Abscess in Dogs

When a dog is suffering from a tooth root abscess, some or all of the following signs may be evident:

  • Obvious broken or discolored tooth
  • Swelling of the face
  • Visible pus drainage
  • Reluctance to chew on affected teeth
  • Increased tartar on tooth
  • Foul odor
  • Loose, painful tooth

Diagnosis of Tooth Root Abscess in Dogs

Dental x-rays, done while the dog is under general anesthesia, allow the veterinarian to visualize changes to the tooth root that indicate an abscess.

Treatment of Tooth Root Abscess in Dogs

The treatment of tooth root abscess in dogs usually involves surgical extraction of the tooth and all roots. That removes the source of infection and relieves the abscess. Veterinary dental specialists may be able to treat an abscessed tooth root with endodontic procedures.

Antibiotics and pain relievers before and after the tooth extraction can be helpful.

After surgery, the veterinarian may recommend soft food for a few days. If the abscess was due to a broken tooth, the dog's activities and routines should be examined and modified as necessary. For example, tug-games may not be a good idea for that dog. Stop giving hard toys to chew or retrieve.

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