You might be amazed at what is underneath your pet’s gum-line!
A few weeks ago The Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt treated a young-adult dog with an abnormal swelling in her mouth. As it turns out, the cause of the swelling was an extra tooth below the surface of the gums which formed a big pocket of fluid.
The typical dog has 42 adult teeth and the typical cat has 30. However, due to variations in dental anatomy among different breeds and individuals, your pet may not follow the rules. Some pets naturally have fewer adult teeth, but frequently the adult teeth are present even though they never made it to the surface. These teeth that stay beneath the gum-line are called un-erupted teeth. Other pets may have extra adult teeth, referred to as supernumerary teeth.
Un-erupted teeth should not be ignored! When normal teeth breach the gum-line they shed a layer of cellular tissue that remains intact in un-erupted teeth. Because this abnormal cellular tissue can cause serious problems including cyst formation, damage to the jawbones, and even cancer, these teeth should be extracted.
Supernumerary teeth can cause problems as well. These extra teeth crowd the normal teeth leading to malposition, occlusion issues, pain, and dental disease.
The good news is that the regular dental care recommended by your veterinarians at The Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt can provide the early diagnosis and therapy your pet deserves. Ask us about full mouth x-rays at your next visit!
Tim Queeney, DVM MPH