Mystery of Bear's Swollen Face

Written by Dr. Dunahugh on . Posted in RVVS Blog

Bear is a handsome, ten year old Chocolate Labrador that came to see us for evaluation of his swollen face. The entire left side of his face was puffy and uncomfortable. When we were unable to find a trauma or known insect bite we started treatment to decrease the swelling. The next day the swelling around his muzzle and eyes was better but a firm swelling/lump remained under his left eye. He is an older lumpy guy but this lump was new. The Mystery of Bears Swollen Face

The swelling decreased and he was doing better.  He was back to his normal routine when all of a sudden the swollen face returned. Treatment to decrease the swelling was started again, but that pesky lump under his eye remained. This was it. Time for a full oral evaluation.
Bear came for his full dental evaluation. Intraoral radiographs were taken and confirmed as suspected – his larger upper fourth premolar was broken and an abscess had formed at the base of the roots. This is one of the largest teeth in the mouth. It has three roots and is responsible for a large amount of chewing. Ideally we try to keep all the teeth but in Bear’s case his tooth was causing him problems, it had to come out! He is now doing great and has recovered from his tooth extraction.  His happy smiling lump free face says it all.
Like most dogs with tooth root abscesses; Bear was eating fine, he was chewing, he was happy.  The rest of his teeth looked okay.  Dogs and cats rarely show us dental pain. Routine at home dental care can help you see changes but deeper issues at the root of the tooth require intraoral radiographs (x-rays). Greater than 80% of dental disease is below the gum line where we cannot see it. 
At RVVS we take pride in our advanced dentistry. We strive to help with at home dental care options such as brushing, chews and treats. We also recommend routine dentistry when we can reverse disease before it becomes irreversible and spreads.  This helps your pets live a longer healthier life with as many teeth as possible. Please stop by if you have questions or would like to know more about a few of our  home dental care products such as our very own River Valley Veterinary labeled dental chews. 
Image Credit:  Adorable photos of Bear's face by Glossy Paws photography.