If you see a black spot on your dog’s tooth, chances are there is an issue developing in your dogs mouth either in the form of a dog cavity, stain, or significant tartar buildup. Unfortunately, dogs can’t talk and don’t express toothaches or oral discomfort very well so it is up to the dog owners to regularly check their mouths for infections or cavities. When dogs go in for a regular check up, many veterinarians conduct an oral exam in a dogs mouth and find cavities if dog owners don’t regularly brush their dogs teeth and feed their dogs sugary foods (fruits, honey, etc.). Very few dog owners actually spot the oral cavity before it becomes an issue.
Typically, dogs will develop a small black or brown spot on their teeth just below the gum line. You will also typically see a small hole where the tooth enamel is due to decay. The black spot will usually be inside this decayed tooth enamel hole. Keep reading for more information on a Black Spot on Dog Tooth.
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What causes dog teeth to turn black?
The spreading of bacteria is what causes all the issues for your dog’s teeth to turn black. Poor dental hygiene allows bacteria to spread throughout your dogs mouth and produce acids that decay your dog’s teeth. Slowly, the bacteria begins to eat away at your dogs enamel which causes your dogs teeth to rot. When your dogs teeth rot, they start to produce black spots as the tooth enamel wears away. Essentially, a dog cavity is when there is a black hole (structural damage) in a tooth.
Like humans, a black spot on your dog’s tooth can be a sign of a dog cavity or significant tooth decay. In addition, a black spot on a tooth could also be the result of staining or tartar buildup. Different types of dog foods and treats can leave black stains on your dogs teeth as well. It’s important to regularly monitor these black spots before they become a bigger issue.
Causes for Black Spot on a Dog Tooth
- Canine tooth cavity
- Stains from eating black colored food or dirt
- Tartar buildup
Though rare, your dog may develop black spots on their outside of their teeth through stains and tartar build up. Developing black spots from the outside of your dog’s teeth is called an extrinsic black spot. On the other hand, your dogs tooth can appear black when damaged from the inside. This is typically due to a dog cavity or decaying teeth and is called an intrinsic black spot.
How to Prevent a Black Tooth Dog Cavity?
In general, you can prevent a black tooth dog cavity by:
- Regularly brushing your dogs teeth
- Using a well-recognized dog toothpaste
- Dog dental chews to help scrub the plaque off a tooth
- Eating a healthy diet that doesn’t contain a significant amount of sugar
- Encouraging your dog to drink regularly as this allows moisture to clear the bacteria.
- Encouraging your dog to chew on things to remove bacteria and tartar buildup.
How to treat a black tooth dog cavity?
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to reverse a dog cavity once it has started even with the best at home care. The best treatment for a dog cavity is preventing the dog cavity in the first place by regularly brushing your dog’s teeth. If your dog has a black spot on their tooth, it’s best to consult your local veterinarian so they can recommend treatments for your dog.
Veterinarians can often times remove dog plaque or tartar with special tools or ultrasonic instruments. However, if these tools don’t work then your dog may have to undergo surgery in the form of complete extraction or have a root canal. Both of these options will require some anesthetic to be used on your dog as they undergo surgery.
A full extraction of a dog tooth will likely happen if that tooth is deemed not functional. These teeth will typically be the smaller teeth on the sides of a dog’s mouth. Pain will be controlled after the surgery through necessary pain killers and veterinarians may administer antibiotics to control for post surgery infections. Once a tooth is fully extracted, it is not longer functional in the dog’s mouth and there will be a gap between their teeth. However, the gap is often not that noticeable since dog’s have a lot of teeth and it’s typically the side teeth that are extracted.
Essentially a dog root canal will allow your dog to salvage the functionality of your dog’s tooth by removing the inner pulp of the tooth. A hard layer of composite will then placed on the outside of the tooth to provide a protective layer around the dog tooth. Unlike humans, typically dogs don’t need a crown or cap after a root canal because the incision is small. Root canals have a very high chance of success, and is a relatively common procedure in dogs. After a dog root canal surgery, the tooth is fully functional and can be used to chew on food and other toys. A dog root canal will be used on teeth that important in your dogs mouth.
What if your canine tooth cavity is left untreated?
- Old dog teeth falling out
- Ongoing oral pain
- An infected dog tooth
- Pus from a bacterial infection
- Increased risk for breaking a dog tooth
- Difficulty eating or chewing dog food
Dogs are actually really great at managing tooth pain and will often times not exhibit any obvious symptoms. However, if a canine tooth cavity is left untreated, it can cause a significant amount of problems in the future. It’s best to get your canine tooth cavity issues resolved as soon as possible. Bacteria spreads exponentially, so we recommend that you treat your pet earlier rather than later. Also, there are associated higher risks of treating an older dog that has tooth issues.
Dog Tooth Infection Symptoms
- Your dog has sensitivity eating or may have a lack of appetite
- Your dog may not be drinking enough, especially sensitive to hot or cold water
- If your dog regularly chews on things, they may not be chewing as much
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bad and foul dog breath
If you don’t treat your canine tooth cavity, then they will develop a dog tooth abscess which is essentially a pocket of pus that is caused by a bacterial infection. A veterinarian will treat your dog’s tooth abscess by draining the pus and getting rid of the infection typically via antibiotics. In addition, for severe cases the veterinarian will likely conduct a root canal or fully extract your dogs tooth.
Pictures of Dog Teeth with problems
Below is a picture of a dog’s teeth with problems as the tooth had chipped likely from a cavity. The teeth had to be extracted and the dog was put on antibiotics and pain killers.
The dog below had dog teeth with problems which resulted in dog dental disease. Several teeth had to be extracted and the rest of the dog teeth had to be cleaned.
Below is another example of dog teeth with problems when a dog cavity is not adequately treated and results in a tooth infection known as dental disease.
Conclusion for Black Spot on Dog Tooth
If your dog has a black spot on their tooth, it’s time to book a veterinarian appointment to get it checked out. At minimum, you should be monitoring the black spot regularly. The most common form of black spot on a dog’s tooth is a dog cavity. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to self-treat a cavity once it has started. The best way to get rid of a cavity is by preventing it in the first by regularly brushing your dog’s teeth.
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Dr. Sabrina Kong graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in England in 2016 and has been working at a small animal clinic in Northern California since then. She grew up in the Bay Area and got her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She also became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through a program at the University of Tennessee.
When she isn’t in the clinic taking care of her four-legged patients, she enjoys traveling and trying new foods with her friends and her three-legged dog, Apollo. She adopted Apollo from her clinic when he was a puppy with numerous health issues. Dr. Kong truly cares about taking care of animals.