Dental health is important in humans and dogs alike.

Without proper dental care, teeth can become a source of a lethal infection.

Let’s find out about one of the deadliest dental problems a dog can have- tooth abscess.

And even more importantly, how you can help your dog.

Dog Tooth Abscess Pictures

  • Dog Tooth Abscess Identification
  • Detailed Picture Analysis
  • Comparison with Healthy Tooth

Dog Tooth Abscess Identification

Normal tooth root

Abscessed tooth root

White color

Mild to severe discoloration(yellow, brown or black)

Pink gums above it

Red and irritated gums, painful to touch

Normal breath

Halitosis or bad breath

Normal lymph nodes

Swollen lymph nodes closest to tooth

No breaks in teeth

Broken or chipped tooth

Normal behavior

Lethargic behavior

Normal temperature


Normal appetite

Lower appetite due to pain

Little to no plaque

Higher chance of plaque

Looks normal and compact on X-ray

Looks spongy on X-ray

A dog tooth abscess is a serious issue.

Your dog will show you signs, you just have to keep an eye on them. [1]

An abscess most commonly forms above the premolars and molars.

The most common place is on the carnassial tooth.

This is the tooth just behind the canine.

It’s an upper premolar.

The tooth abscess can start with tartar and gingivitis.

The bacteria from the plaque can also affect the tooth root and form an abscess there. [2]

If your dog starts to avoid food and is lethargic, take them to an animal hospital as soon as possible.

The veterinarian will do a dental check to be sure the problem is in the mouth.

The signs they will be looking for are, firstly, inflamed gums.

The gingiva around the abscess will be inflamed.

The gum line will most likely be receded.

The most telling sign is a pus-filled pocket above the teeth.

These are also signs you can look for at home.

Detailed Picture Analysis

It’s always good to have something to compare to your dog’s teeth to make sure they’re healthy.

Pictures of dog teeth with problems are the best way to do that.

The gums and teeth are the main points of comparison.

An abscessed tooth is very obviously different from the surrounding teeth.

The pus-filled pocket gives it away.

Comparison with Healthy Tooth

Make sure to compare the condition of the teeth first.

Healthy teeth should be white and not covered in plaque.

Plaque can be yellow, brown, or black.

This depends on the stage of the tartar.

The gums are a very important part to compare as well.  [3]

Healthy gums should be pink and hard.

Soft and red gums indicate an infection.

Most likely it’s gingivitis if the teeth seem clean.

If your dog doesn’t fit the criteria, take them to a veterinary clinic.

They might have an abscess.

The abscess is the same in both dogs and cats.

If there is an abscess, you’ll be given two options.

One is to extract it, and the other is a root canal.

An extraction ensures no further problems appear.

Dog teeth extraction complication symptoms are similar to an abscess.

If your dog doesn’t get better in a few days, go back to the vet.

Tooth Root Abscess in Dogs

  • Causes of Abscess
  • Recognizing Symptoms
  • Importance of Veterinary Consultation

Causes of Abscess

The main cause of an abscess is lack of dental hygiene.

This is also the best way to prevent it from happening.

This is why a daily brush is very important.

Brushing your dog’s teeth will help you avoid the development of a cavity.

A cavity is a path for infection to the root of the tooth.

A tooth root abscess can be very dangerous, even deadly.

This is caused by bacteria that gather on the enamel of the tooth.

In time plaque builds with even more bacteria.

The bacteria can also enter through a crack or a break in the tooth.

If the dog’s immune system isn’t strong enough the infection can show signs within a day.

The affected tooth needs to be extracted.

This happens more often to dogs who chew on hard objects.

When these bacteria get to the root, they can cause systemic infections through the blood.

A more serious outcome is a carnassial tooth abscess.

This affects the first upper premolar. [4]

This can lead to an oronasal fistula and can lead to a severe infection in the sinuses as well. [5]

Recognizing Symptoms

The first thing you might notice is the pain.

Your dog will not let you pet their nuzzle.

Because of the pain, their appetite will decrease as well.

They will hardly eat and they’ll do it on one side only.

The gums will be inflamed and red.

It is because of the periodontal disease that predeceases the abscess in most cases.

This is because plaque or tartar is the most common cause of an abscess.

Their mood will drop, and they will drool more than usual.

The abscessed teeth will need dental surgery for extraction.

Importance of Veterinary Consultation

If left untreated, an abscess can be lethal.

Tooth extraction is the best solution for an abscess.

When you go to the vet for a check-up on this situation, your vet will give you an antibiotic.

This, along with pain medication, will help your pet until surgery is possible.

If the surgery is in the next day or two, the vet might pop the abscess.

This is to lower the pressure and pain.

Do not do this alone at home.

Understanding A Tooth Abscess

  • Abscessed Tooth Description
  • Dental Complications
  • Tooth Root Abscess Details

Abscessed Tooth Description

An abscessed tooth is easy to spot.

They are on the gums.

Look around the root.

If you notice a swelling beneath the surface of the gums and inflammation, take your dog to the vet.

The abscess itself is like a bubble with puss.

It’s warm and painful to the touch.

It’s the same for humans and animals.

The teeth will usually have a plaque on them.

Dental Complications

Plaque Plaque builds up due to lack of brushing
Gingivitis Consequence of the plaque
Periodontal disease Following gingivitis, a more serious infection
Broken tooth Because of the fragility of the teeth
Abscess Consequence of the broken or uncared for teeth

Plaque and gingivitis usually go hand in hand.

Not a lot of plaque is needed for gingivitis to appear. [6]

Periodontal disease appears after further neglect of dental care.

This can make the teeth more prone to falling out or breaking.

An abscess is an inevitable last step if the broken tooth isn’t dealt with.

Tooth Root Abscess Details

The tooth may have a different color ranging from brown to black.

This depends on the stage of the abscess.

The rest of the symptoms are the same as a regular abscess.

The bacteria just gets to the root in this case.

You might notice a scab or wound forming beneath the eye.

If you see this rush to the vet.

This is a carnassial abscess and calls for emergency surgery.

What Does a Dog Tooth Abscess Look Like

  • Visual Symptoms to Watch
  • Progressive Stages
  • Post-Treatment Appearance

Visual Symptoms to Watch

On the outside, you might see swelling or bulging.

On the inside, you will see red gums.

Bleeding or puss can be seen if the abscess is popped on accident.

If it isn’t, you’ll see the swelling on the inside.

It should be like a pus-filled bubble.

The gums will be inflamed.

The teeth can lose their white color and become brown or black.

They can also be covered in a thin, or more likely thick, plaque layer.

Progressive Stages

  • Before the Tartar Storm
  • Beginning of build-up
  • Beginning of gingivitis
  • From gingivitis to periodontal disease

Before the Tartar Storm

It all starts with healthy teeth.

Every dog had healthy teeth until they are neglected.

Dental health in dogs is just as important as it is in humans.

They come in contact with more bacteria than us, and it’s important to clean them after they do.

This makes it safer for us as owners as well.

Beginning of build-up

Lack of dental care leads to yellow or brown plaque building up.

With neglect, tartar can build up on the teeth.

It should be fine if there is a little.

But don’t let it get out of hand.

Even humans have plaque.

Beginning of gingivitis

Plaque gets worse.

It changes to darker colors.

This causes gingivitis.

Further neglect leads to more plaque and the first complication- gingivitis.

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria.

From gingivitis to periodontal disease

Gingivitis turns into periodontal disease.

If left untreated, gingivitis can grow into periodontal disease. [7]

This will make the tooth loose and prone to more infection.

The gums will be inflamed.

This can lead to tooth decay and/or a tooth abscess.

Fragile teeth can be broken more easily.

This leads to the last stage of an abscess.

After this, an extraction is needed.

Post-Treatment Appearance

Expect your dog to have swelling.

It’s normal after every dental surgical procedure to have a little swelling.

If it’s on the upper jaw, it can be up to the eyes.

You may also notice blood in their water.

This is normal for the first few days as well.

The wound may seem small, but there are a lot of blood vessels in the mouth.

Your dog will be drowsy and lack playfulness.

They will need good rest after the ordeal is done.

Prevent Tooth and Tooth Root Disorders

  • Dental Care Importance
  • Home Preventive Measures
  • Regular Veterinary Checkups

Dental Care Importance

By maintaining your dog’s dental care, you make their life easier. [8]

Dental care means overall health.

Daily brushing or dental wiping twice a day will help you maintain your dog’s gleaming smile.

It will prevent plaque from building up.

Plaque can lead to many serious dental problems that can lead to tooth extraction.

Daily brushing will also help you detect a problem early on.

Lastly, it will help you avoid the dreaded doggy breath.

Home Preventive Measures

Regular brushing is the most important preventative measure.

Along with that, you can put your dog on a dental diet.

This diet contains tooth-boosting foods.

It also helps maintain healthy gums.

The same can be said for dental toys.

Try to avoid hard toys that can hurt your dog’s teeth.

Dental toys are chewy and more fun for your dogs.

Their texture will keep them busy.

With all these measures, professional dental cleanings can be done only twice a year.

If the health of the teeth is good, it can be done once a year.

Regular Veterinary Checkups

Regular vet checkups are just as important as brushing the teeth.

Make sure to consult your vet for any dental problem you might suspect.

How to Treat an Abscessed Tooth in a Dog

  • Effective Home Remedies
  • Medical Treatments Available
  • Post-Treatment Care

Effective Home Remedies

There are no effective home remedies for dog tooth abscesses. [9]

The only thing you can do at home is lower the pain.

You can do this in a few ways.

The easiest is to remove any hard objects they can chew on.

Try to use a pet-safe antiseptic or salt water on the abscessed tooth.

If it’s on a molar tooth you might have a little trouble reaching it.

Be patient.

The last thing you can do is prevent your dog from scratching its mouth.

Your vet will probably schedule surgery.

Similarly to dental cleanings, it’s done under general anesthesia.

Medical Treatments Available

Medical treatment


Root canal

This is an option for owners who do not want the tooth to be extracted. Usually, if the pet is old.


It is the best treatment option. It will ensure the abscess won’t return.

If you have an active dog, there are many things to do if your dog’s tooth falls out.

If you have a puppy, don’t worry too much.

Puppies lose their teeth starting at 3-5 months.

Just to be safe, consult with your vet.

If an adult dog loses its tooth due to a break, go to the vet as soon as possible.

The rest of the tooth must be extracted.

The exposed pulp can easily lead to an infection.

This is done under general anesthesia. [10]

Post-Treatment Care

After you get your dog home, it may be drowsy for a few days.

They will whine and will still be in pain.

After three days, they should start going back to normal.

You should keep them in a comfortable place and give them soft food only.

Chew toys of any kind are not allowed in this period.

The wound from extraction should be healed by the end of the 14th day.

If your dog still displays signs of infection or a fever, take them to the vet.

Helping Your Dog with Tooth Disorders

  • Pain Management Strategies
  • Adequate Diet Adjustments
  • Enhancing Dog’s Comfort

Pain Management Strategies

If you see that your dog is in pain, don’t wait for it to get worse.

The lack of eating should be alarming enough for you to take the next step.

The vet will suggest a dental cleaning or extraction based on what they diagnose.

They will send you home with pain medications and maybe an antibiotic.

At home, help your dog deal with the pain.

Make sure to give them soft food.

Adequate Diet Adjustments

With dental problems, most of the time, the main adjustment will be to liquid or soft food.

You can do this by mixing dry food with canned food.

Adding water to dry food and squishing it is also an option.

If your vet allows it you can also add cooked rice and steamed veggies to their diet.

Make sure they’re soft and at room temperature.

There are also canned foods available with these items.

Enhancing Dog’s Comfort

Regular cleanings will save your dog from the discomfort of any surgery. [11]

Professional dental cleanings can be done once every six months.

This is only in cases if you are doing daily cleanings.

This is to get rid of residual plaque.

A dog’s bad teeth can have side effects, so severe that you might think something is seriously wrong.

With at-home and professional dental cleanings, you will prevent tooth root infections.

You’ll have daily contact with their teeth and will spot anything wrong on time.

Will a Dog Tooth Abscess Go Away?

No, a dog tooth abscess will not go away.

It can pass to the root of the tooth and make it life-threatening.

If you see an abscess on your dog’s gums, take them to the vet.

What Does an Abscess Look Like on a Dog’s Tooth?

An abscess appears on the gums.

The gums around it are red and inflamed.

The abscess itself looks like a little bubble.

It can be red and have a yellow top.

Do not pop an abscess on your own.

Take your dog to the vet.

The vet might pop it to alleviate pressure.

They will schedule surgery for the extraction or root canal.

What Are the Symptoms of an Infected Tooth for a Dog?

Symptoms of an infected tooth for a dog vary.

If your dog has an infected tooth, it will be in pain.

This leads to them avoiding food.

When they eat, they will chew on the other side of the pain.

They might whimper and drool more than usual.

If you check, their gums might be inflamed, and they might have plaque.

An infected tooth can also cause a fever and lethargy.

Will My Dog Eat if He Has a Tooth Infection?

Yes, your dog will eat if he has a tooth infection, but it will hurt them.

The pain will make them avoid food until they are very hungry.

When they eat, they will chew on one side only, away from the pain.

Call your vet for a check-up.

Until then, give them softer foods.

How Can I Treat My Dogs Tooth Abscess at Home?

You can not treat a dog’s tooth abscess at home.

An abscess is a serious health and life hazard.

Take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice the abscess.