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My 14 yr old Silky is having dental surgery in a week. He was a rescue and we knew he would eventually need surgery. But it wasn't until this week, while at the groomer, they shaved his snout. We had been having difficulty at home w/ him letting us trim his beard. Evidently, the dental disease progressed sooner than we expected. The next day a tooth in the back rolled out. He had been in great spirits and is still a very active terrier. No signs of discomfort but it must hurt if we try to groom around the mouth. He has the bad breath and tarter if you gently roll up the lip.
Bottomline: Try regular brushing at home, if u can't or the dog is non-compliance and tartar develops, schedule a dental appt. It is so progressive.The anesthesia is scary but it is a well-tried procedure & necessary. I wish we had taken our Silky in for the dental surgery earlier. We had been brushing and making annual vet checks, but did not want major surgery w/ anesthesia.
Once the teeth fall out, the poor pooch can not reach back and nip at a fly or sooth himself. That would be frustrating for the ole boy.They do a lot of their grooming or swatting w/ their teeth. Bad teeth then leads to blood poisoning and affects the kidneys.Thankfully, it looks like our dog will do ok and finish up w/ a few teeth. Google pictures of dog gum disease & that will convince you. Good Luck.