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Discussion Starter #1
Annie is 3 years old. For the first 2.5 ish years, I was lax about brushing her teeth - I did so maybe once a month. Then a few months ago I noticed a bit of bleeding while I was brushing. I inspected her teeth and her upper right canine and the little tooth in front of that one are yellowish at the top and the gum is red. This is the spot that was bleeding slightly. So for the past few months I've been brushing/rinsing regularly. I'm using CET toothpaste and CET rinse. Her gum is still red. What else can I do? The vet says he doesn't do professional cleaning until 5 yrs old. Does that sound right? I feel so bad, and so guilty! :sad:
 

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That is bull. Vets should be doing full cleanings when needed. Some dogs/cats have genetically very bad teeth (not yours! just an example) and if you waited until they were five the teeth would be decaying out of their heads.

I happen to have a cat like this, and don't want to risk anesthesia, so I found a vet dentist tech that does non-anesthesia dental cleanings and have her do both of my cats every 6mos. It keeps up with the tartar build up and I shouldn't ever have to put them under anesthesia just for a cleaning.

Anywho, what I was getting around to is that the yellow is plaque, which is about impossible to remove without a scraping once it's hardened. The gum will stay irritated and red until it's removed. On the plus side, it doesn't sound near bad enough to require a full cleaning (likely why your vet refused - big risk w/ anesthesia, little reward). You might be able to find someone near you who will do a non-anesthetic cleaning like I have and that will take care of it and allow the gum to heal. Or, there are sprays that advertise that they dissolve plaque and you could try one of them. Be aware that I've used one and it didn't seem to help my cat any. I found them to be expensive, too.
 

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My groomer does teeth cleaning. Maybe you can ask your groomer? Also, an army surplus store will have dental cleaning tools. They always do. For the plaque you have to actually pop it off the tooth with a little tool. It isn't hard to do, but it won't work with a brush. You could try your fingernail if it isn't too bad.
 

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The tartar you see is the tip of the iceberg, the real problem lies under the gum line. That's why the area is red, inflammed, and bleeds easily. You can't properly clean under the gum without the correct instruments including ultrasonic scaler and without anesthesia. The no anesthesia cleanings that are done are cosmetic only and do not address the medical problem.
 
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Did your vet thoroughly examine her teeth and gums? I've had three rescues with Grade 4 Periodontal disease--this means the teeth are abscessed and essentially rotting in the jaw. Their mouths literally smell like decomposition. It's not a pretty sight, and they all lost most of their teeth (surgical extraction).

My vet will do a hand scraping--you can do it yourself after some instruction. Some plaque--if it's just a hard, yellowish film--will come off if you pick at it with your fingernail. The bleeding is a sign of gingivitis, just as in humans. (You ever skip flossing for a while, do it and have bloody gums? Same thing.) I recommend that you ask your vet if she has periodontal disease before you panic, and mention the bleeding gums.

Gingivitis: http://www.natural-wonder-pets.com/gingivitis-in-dogs.html
You will notice that once tartar becomes prevalent on your pet’s teeth, his gums will begin to redden, swell, and bleed if touched. The condition will progressively worsen and increase in pain. Your pet may drool, refuse to eat or have difficulties eating, and produce foul breath. These are all signs of dental decay. Gingivitis in dogs and cats is reversible in the early stages before it becomes periodontitis, which is differentiated from gingivitis by bone loss and succeeding tooth loss.
If your vet refuses to address this or brushes you off, I'd seek a second opinion. Or ask your groomer if s/he hand scales. If you it yourself, just make sure a vet shows you how first and you can buy a scaler from KV Vet. (My vet gave me a mini-class, but daily brushing prevents the need for scaling in MOST dogs in my experience.)

The CET Rinse is great because it's supposed to help prevent plaque. Are you using the CET toothpaste for heavy tartar?

Keep us posted. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the responses everyone! The vet did check her teeth at her 3 year annual check-up a few weeks ago. He said it is mild gingivitis. He said that some dogs - such as toy poodles - are more prone to teeth problems. I know that this is true, however I don't think I should just stand by and let it happen. He did recommend the CET toothpaste and rinse, but I have already been using that. I'll look into scraping/scaling without anesthesia as a first plan of attack.

Rowan - I am using the CET toothpaste. Is there a specific one for heavy tartar?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here's the tooth, in all it's glory (sorry if this grosses anyone out!) The red area right at the base of her gum is the problem; the darker area above that is just pigment. Her other canine is similar but not as bad. All her other teeth look fine. (This looks way worse magnified like this - it doesn't seem as bad in real life!) I tried briefly to scrape it with my fingernail, but she was not thrilled and nothing came off. I'll try a little harder later.

 

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The tartar you see is the tip of the iceberg, the real problem lies under the gum line. That's why the area is red, inflammed, and bleeds easily. You can't properly clean under the gum without the correct instruments including ultrasonic scaler and without anesthesia. The no anesthesia cleanings that are done are cosmetic only and do not address the medical problem.
Depends entirely on when you do them. It's no substitution for a full dental, for certain, if dental disease is advanced. Catch the problem early and it can completely take care of the issue. My older cat has gone from needing full dentals every year usually w/ tooth extractions (she's had 4 pulled so far) to not needing a full dental in 5yrs - no infected pockets, no gingivitis.

Now, my tech is really good. She worked for an excellent dental specialist before starting her own business. She is careful to clean out gum pockets, if any and the animal allows - mine does. She refuses to do the cleaning at all if she finds any problem other than tartar buildup and minor gingivitis. That is left for a full dental and she won't pretend otherwise.

BTW, deciding when my cats get their full dental isn't left to the tech. That's my regular vet's call (who doesn't even know I have a dental tech) and so far she's been gushing over the health of both cats' mouths.
 

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I bought a dog dental pick on Amazon - they are very inexpensive. Swizzle is a puppy and has no plaque but I just want him to get use to it. My niece has two rescues and two guide dogs (one in training and one who flunked) and does all their teeth with it. The rescues were older and had horrible, stinky teeth and inflamed gums. The vet suggested a full dental but my niece did not want them to go under and wanted to try to fix it herself. She scraped the rescues teeth for a few months and then went back to the vet. The dogs are surprisingly good about this. The vet now says the dogs teeth are fine. No more stinky breath, no more red inflamed gums. My niece keeps it up and the dogs teeth have been great ever since. My BIL had the same issue with his rescue. He fed his dog a raw bone almost every day and the dog's teeth are now white and he has pink healthy gums. I think you will be able to fix this without the dog going under. Your puppy's teeth look fantastic compared to my nieces and BIL's rescues so I do think you can do it yourself. If I knew a great dental tech however I would do that even if I did not see a problem just as I have my own teeth done. Your poodle is absolutely adorable.
 

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...(Snip)
Rowan - I am using the CET toothpaste. Is there a specific one for heavy tartar?
This one (bottom of page): Virbac Animal Health | United States ? C.E.T.® Pet Toothpastes

These are also great :) (my poodles love them):

Annie's tooth isn't bad at all. You should see the pics of my rescue poodle's teeth (before they were all extracted). Google Periodonatal disease and check out the gums on those dogs. :( You're doing a great job and the right thing! Keep it up.
 

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After some online research I'm going to try this:

Oral Care Gel - Peppermint - PetzLife Oral Care, Dog Dental Care - PetzLife

It comes in gel and spray, and claims to disolve plaque and tartar. It has very good reviews, and the company offers a money back guarantee. I'll update with the progress!
I used this one my mini and he didn't like it. And it needs to keep in the fridge once opened. We are now using this Amazon.com: Tropiclean Fresh Breath Clean Teeth Gel Remove Plaque: Everything Else and he likes it much better.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone. Rowan - thanks for the encouraging words. I feel really guilty about this as it is all my fault for not brushing regularly from the time she was a puppy. I was embarrased to post the picture, but I really wanted to get some advice, so I'm glad I did. :)

I don't have the tartar control toothpaste, just the regular enzymatic one. I didn't even know they had another, so thanks for that! I think I'll order it after this tube is out. That way I'll be able to tell if the new spray is working without wondering if it's the new toothpaste. I already have the chews and she loves them! Schnauzerpoodle - I already ordered the Petz Life so I'll give that a try. Thanks for the alternative - I'll keep it in mind if she doesn't like the first one.

I'm going to do my best to get rid of this! I would love to avoid full dental cleanings later if at all possible.

I'm so glad I found this site!:love:
 

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Annie and Me:
Don't fret--nobody is perfect! I've skipped the dental routine for months at a time (like after Lord Byron passed). The good news is you can "make amends" and catch up.

Here's a prime example:
My two older poodles (that I've raised from 8 and 12 weeks) will be 9 and 10 this Sept/No, and have never had to undergo a dental cleaning. All my dental expenditures (high $$$) were for rescue poodles. That alone keeps me on track. It's well worth the effort, and not just to save money. I do it for their health and well-being. :)

You're doing great! We live and learn and you haven't let that adorable little girl down one bit.
 

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You have received great advice. I have to mention, too, that a raw diet really does help keep teeth clean. My IG, like most toys, is prone to bad teeth, but she is fed raw and has only had to have them cleaned when she was under anyway (had a small fatty tumor removed). The pork neck bones are a really good teeth-scouring meal.

--Q
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
You have received great advice. I have to mention, too, that a raw diet really does help keep teeth clean. My IG, like most toys, is prone to bad teeth, but she is fed raw and has only had to have them cleaned when she was under anyway (had a small fatty tumor removed). The pork neck bones are a really good teeth-scouring meal.

--Q
Thanks. You know, I looked into a raw diet right before I got Annie. I thought about it seriously but didn't get much support from my vet (or my husband!), so I dropped it. I was also kind of scared - probably just from ignorance. I have small kids and was worried about bacteria, particularly from chicken.

Anyway, I might look into it again. Is there a section on this forum that talks about it? Also, if I don't feed 100% raw, can I give her a bone now and then, like the pork neck bone you mentioned?



ETA: found the "Poodle Food" forum....
 

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There's tons of info out there on the web, as well as several books on the topic. It's a subject not without controversy, as you will see! I've been feeding raw for almost 15 years now and am a believer.

I think it's fine to give even non-raw fed dogs recreational bones; you just won't get as much benefit. Every little bit helps, though!

Good luck,
--Q
 

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Can I make just one suggestion....and that's all I'm doing because I know this isn't possible for everybody for many reasons....but... :)

Have you thought about feeding raw? There are enzymes in raw food that are not found in processed food....these enzymes keep tarter (and therefore other tooth problems) at bay. I've always had big dogs, and they don't seem to have the decay problems their smaller couterparts have...however, I suggested raw to my sister, who's young Pug was having too many dental problems for a young dog (I thought). She switched...reluctantly...we decided 6 months was long enough to see if it made a difference.....IT DID. NO new dental problems at Ellie's last check up...this is the first year Ell doesn't have to have a cleaning.

p
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm going to research raw some more. I have to say the whole idea kind of freaks me out (I know, I know...lots of people do it and have been for years....) it's just...a big leap. Know what I mean?
 

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I know it's a big leap...I was a wreck! I thought OMG, I'll leave something out that he needs, I'll give him too much of something and make him sick....the worry list was endless. I got on the internet and there was SO MUCH conflicting information out there, that I almost decided against switching my guy. What I ended up doing was talking to the 3 or 4 people who were feeding raw in my GSD group..."I'll just do what they do!!"...we have several pretty knowledgable people who had been feeding raw for a long time. I found out it wasn't that much different than feeding myself a healthy diet. When my sister switched Ellie, I just made a list for her, and bought her a little food scale as an initiation present....Started Ellie at 2% of her body weight, then watched her to make sure she wasn't gaining or losing weight (do Pugs ever LOSE weight??) we eventually decreased the amount a tiny bit

It sounds like there are several raw feeders here....just ask "Tell me what you feed your pup in a day"... :) I picked everybody's brain and came up with a concoction from the information I got from them. I continue to feed a little high quality kibble at night, and feed a raw diet in the morning. Amazingly it's pretty darn simple...it doesn't cost more than premium kibble...and the payoff will be a healthy pup, with good teeth....

Depending on where you live...you may be able to join a coop, and have the food delivered...it's even more inexpensive that way (I have to do store bought, where I live).

It's intimidating at first, but I'll bet within 7 to 10 days you'll be saying "wow, this isn't so hard at all!!" :)

p
 
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