How to Tell If Your Dog Has Impacted Teeth

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Impacted teeth can be very painful for a dog.
Impacted teeth can be very painful for a dog. (Image: dog image by Vaida from Fotolia.com)

While teething in a puppy is normal, certain problems can occur during this stage as it gets its adult teeth. One of these problems is impacted teeth. This refers to a tooth that does not descend or ascend into the bite properly. Impacted teeth can cause serious health problems, such as abscesses and pain, and should be addressed as quickly as possible. Surgery will be necessary to remove the impacted tooth.

Pay attention to any sudden and abnormal changes in your dog's behavior. If it appears to be in pain or snaps at you and there is no apparent reason for this behavior change, it may be linked to its teeth. While there are several issues that can cause snapping or biting, impacted teeth should be ruled out, particularly if your dog is still losing baby teeth.

Monitor your dog's eating behavior. If it appears to be in pain while chewing or refuses to take food, this may be an indication that your dog is experiencing dental pain. Another indicator is if it cries or yelps while chewing.

Open your dog's mouth. Gently open the mouth by placing your hand under its muzzle and squeezing in. Use the other hand to open the top of the muzzle to look inside.

Look for any red or sore spots. An impacted tooth will typically have a space between teeth and this space will be red and irritated. In some cases, there may be no irritation, but you will be able to see the obvious spot in between teeth that indicates that a tooth has not come in properly.

Test your dog's breath. While dog's generally have bad breath, if you notice that your dog's breath has worsened or its breath smells rotten, this can be an indication that a tooth may be impacted and an abscess is forming.

Contact your veterinarian. Impacted teeth are serious and should be addressed immediately by a qualified veterinarian. He will be able to order an X-ray to determine if a tooth is impacted and will perform surgery if this is the case.

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