8-Year-Old Yorkie Needs 18 Teeth Removed
Precious the Yorkie Had Bad Breath
“You can smell dental disease way before you can see it,” said Doc Truli upon meeting Precious, an 8-year-old female spayed Yorkshire Terrier. Precious saw the groomer at least once monthly. She ate only organic food. She drank reverse osmosis water and distilled water. She played at the neighbor’s house every day with her Poodle best friend. In short, Precious was well taken-care-of. She enjoyed her life.
Precious never had her teeth brushed. She never had a deep dental cleaning. Precious was a Yorkshire Terrier, one of Doc Truli’s Top Ten Dog Breeds Prone to Periodontal Disease.
“She doesn’t let me brush her teeth,” said Precious’ mom, Debbie. Of course not, her teeth hurt.
“If you have a puppy Yorkie, start brushing and playing with appropriate tiny-sized brushes right away,” advises Doc Truli. “Periodontal disease is evident by 2 years old. Start early to prevent or delay the onset. If you need help, hire a talented dog trainer to teach ‘come, sit, stay, and brush. While you’re at it, have them teach ‘nails’ and ‘face,’ too!’”
“How could this happen?” asked Debbie.
“Yorkie’s are prone to periodontal disease. Plaque is a fuzzy biofilm of saliva and bacteria that coats the teeth within about 12 hours after a meal. If it is not removed physically or enzymatically, it starts to attract calcium and form calculus (aka tartar) in 5-7 days.” This process occurs even with organic food and clean water, although food a dog can chew and scrub the teeth with will help keep the teeth cleaner.
8-Year-Old Yorkie Needs Dental Surgery
Once the thick tartar accumulates, a deep dental cleaning under anesthesia is needed to get the plaque and disease out from under the gumlines. Unfortunately, almost all dogs have extensive periodontal disease before their people even realize they have tartar. Some of this disease is discovered with a thorough physical exam under anesthesia. A dental depth probe checks the gums to see if they have pulled away from the sides of the roots of the teeth. Radiographs (x-rays) check deep into the jawbone. Tooth root abscesses and other surprises sometimes only show on x-rays.
“Your veterinarian or veterinary dental specialist cannot tell you how many teeth are diseased until after the exam and x-rays under anesthesia. You will be shocked how many teeth Precious needed extracted!” says Doc Truli.
Remember to ask your veterinarian if they perform dental x-rays on every pet who is under anesthesia for a dental evaluation and cleaning. Only 10% of vets in America have dental x-rays and not all of them use them every day. Does your vet take dental x-rays?
Precious the Yorkie Needed 18 Teeth Removed!
Doc Truli evaluated Precious’ teeth. One little two-root premolar actually swung back and forth like a barn door! Doc Truli called Debbie during the procedure to let her know the news. A shocked Yorkie mom asked,”What will she eat with?” (Everyone asks that!) Doc Truli said,”She’ll eat better than she does now!” Imagine trying to eat with 18 loose, infected teeth with red, swollen sore gums!
Precious recovered quickly and fully from her surgery and anesthesia. After a few weeks of healing, she started enjoying having her (remaining) teeth brushed. Sometimes she drags a tooth-brush under the sofa and will not bring it back. That’s okay, she needs a new one every 6 months anyway!
VirtuaVet Describes different details of dentistry in each story, please read: