Ever since I was a little puppy I have had my teeth brushed every day! Soon after getting home with my puppy raisers they started brushing my teeth in the evening before I went to bed. It was very important for me to get comfortable with having this done. I didn’t know it then but would later learn that daily brushing is a routine that will last forever!
My puppy raisers worked on teaching me to hold still and not wiggle when the toothbrush was in my mouth. Learning to not wiggle was kind of hard. At first, it felt a little strange having them move the toothbrush around in my mouth. But the toothpaste did taste very yummy so I didn’t want them to stop. Since I’m a quick learner I soon was holding still. And started looking forward to getting my teeth brushed. I even started waiting near the bathroom door!
Do you like brushing your teeth? It makes me wonder if you get as excited as I do! When first getting home with my mom I wanted to make sure she kept up with the brushing. So every night I reminded her that it was time. I would keep going toward the bathroom and soon she realized what I was telling her. She listened to me and we continued my evening brushing routine!
I have to use a special toothpaste that is made for dogs. The types of toothpaste that people use are not safe for dogs. The flavor of mine is seafood. And it is very yummy! Do you think you would like seafood flavored toothpaste? My mom says she prefers mint! To brush my teeth my mom uses a soft bristle brush so it is gentle on my gums. Before brushing she uses special wipes that help to keep my teeth clean. And then she uses the toothbrush with that yummy toothpaste!
As you know, I use my mouth for many of the tasks that I do for my mom. I pick up a variety of different objects that she drops. And I tug open various types of doors and drawers. My mouth needs to be healthy so I can comfortably perform all these tasks.
When my mom brushes my teeth she also looks all around inside my mouth. She wants to make sure there aren’t any unusual or concerning areas. Or any teeth that are starting to have some plaque forming on them. A few years back she started noticing that my gums were looking a little bit different than they had been. Kind of like there was extra gum tissue. Over time this seemed to be getting worse. My mom was concerned.
We went to visit my veterinarian, whom I love seeing, and he said that it looked like I had Gingival Hyperplasia. My mom wondered what those great big words meant. She had never heard them before. For me, I was just happily sitting by my doctor enjoying the petting. And not really listening!
In this photo, you can see where the Gingival Hyperplasia is affecting my bottom teeth.
Gingival Hyperplasia is an overgrowth of gum tissue. It can cause long term problems because bacteria can collect under the gums. It occurs most often in Boxers. And is far less common in Labs.
So what does all of this mean for me? Somehow we needed to get my mouth all fixed up and better. It was starting to make it uncomfortable to pull on the tug ropes because of the gum tissue covering my bottom front teeth. But you know what? I was finding ways to grab the ropes differently so I could still help my mom! I adapt easily and am resourceful . . . just like my mom!
The first step was finding a dental specialist for me to see. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a dentist for dogs. But I would soon find out more! And meet my wonderful dentist!
A couple of years ago I had the surgery to remove the excess gum tissue. When my dentist was taking x-rays before my surgery she found that I also had some cavities. I was able to get a few of the cavities filled but I also had to have some teeth pulled.
After the surgery, my mouth was very sore and uncomfortable. My mom gave me mushy food and pain meds. And kept me from helping her until my mouth was healed. It was so hard to not help my mom when I knew she needed me. But soon I was feeling much better and right back to doing my job!
My mom didn’t understand why she had missed so much in my mouth. She had been brushing my teeth daily and examining my mouth. How could she miss all of this?
The dentist reassured my mom that she had been doing everything right. And the cavities were not visible except on the x-rays. She said that for me it was most likely genetic and that I was predisposed to this happening. My mom still felt bad. But I told her not to worry because I am all better now! And as a bonus, I get to see my dentist every year!