When I perform an examination on a puppy, I look closely at their mouth because puppies are prone to several painful dental problems. Some of these are inherited which may get the puppy removed from breeding programs. Pictured below is the right side of a 10 week old large breed puppy. This little guy came in for vaccinations and a fecal check. All of his physical examination findings were ‘within normal limits’ except the mouth. Examine the image below and then answer the following question: What is wrong with this pup’s mouth? How will it affect his future health?
Diagnosis: 1) Worn deciduous canine teeth with pulp exposure 2) Pulpitis of the lower deciduous canine tooth 3) Malocclusion
This puppy has three dental problems. First, see how the tips of both deciduous canine teeth are worn off? He has been chewing on something that wore away the tip of the crowns. This exposed the pulp cavity. Second, the lower deciduous canine tooth is discolored. Instead of the normal healthy white color of the other teeth, this one is tan. If you look closely, you can see a pinkish color in the bottom of the tooth that signifies a serious problem with the pulp cavity. I am concerned that bacteria entered the pulp cavity when the tip was worn away and have caused on infection. Third, the lower deciduous canine tooth has indented the gingiva on the upper jaw between the third incisor and canine tooth. His lower jaw was too narrow for the upper jaw causing malocclusion. Every time he closed his mouth, the lower deciduous canine teeth hit the upper jaw. This poor pup had a really painful mouth. He needed dental work right away to give him a pain-free mouth and to prevent long term dental problems.