Dental issues, like tartar build-up and periodontal disease, are common problems faced by dog owners, including those with Scottish Terriers.
Factors such as a high-sugar diet (see Foods Scotties Should Never Eat) or lack of dental hygiene can exacerbate these issues.
In this guide, we’ll answer frequently asked questions about Scottie dental health and provide ways to reduce these problems, helping to ensure a happy, healthy smile for your Scottie.
How Many Teeth Do Scottish Terriers Have?
The number of teeth in a Scottish Terrier, or any dog for that matter, depends on their age and whether they have their deciduous (baby) teeth or adult (permanent) teeth.
When we’re talking about puppies, they typically have 28 deciduous teeth, often referred to as baby or milk teeth. These teeth are softer and have a porous enamel layer compared to permanent teeth. The dental formula for puppy teeth is:
2(I3/3 C1/1 P3/3) = 28
In more detail, a puppy has 3 pairs of incisors in both the upper and lower jaws on both sides, 2 canines in the upper and lower jaws, and 3 pairs of premolars in the upper and lower jaws. No molars are present in a puppy’s mouth.
As the dog matures, these deciduous teeth are replaced by 42 permanent teeth, erupting by the age of 4 to 7 months. These teeth are stronger and brighter than the baby teeth. The dental formula for an adult dog is:
2(I3/3 C1/1 P4/4 M2/3) = 42
In an adult dog, there are 20 teeth in the upper jaw and 22 in the lower. The breakdown includes 3 pairs of incisors, 1 pair of canines, 4 pairs of premolars in the upper jaw, and 6 molars in the lower jaw.
Understanding these dental differences helps in providing the right care for your Scottish Terrier at various stages of their life.
When Do Scottish Terriers Lose Their Baby Teeth?
Scottish Terriers, like other dog breeds, go through a transitional phase where their deciduous or baby teeth are replaced by permanent ones.
This process, known as teething, typically begins around 3.5 to 4 months of age. By the time the puppy reaches 6 to 7 months, all the milk teeth have been replaced by permanent teeth.
The incisors and canines are usually replaced by 12 to 16 weeks of age, followed by the premolars between 16 to 20 weeks. The molars, if present, are replaced by 18 to 24 weeks of age. Here’s a quick guide to the timing:
- Incisors: Puppy 4-6 weeks, Dog 12-16 weeks
- Canines: Puppy 3-5 weeks, Dog 12-16 weeks
- Premolars: Puppy 5-6 weeks, Dog 16-20 weeks
- Molars: None in puppy, Dog 18-24 weeks
Observing this natural process can be fascinating for Scottie owners, and understanding the timeline ensures you can provide appropriate care during this critical developmental stage.
Why is my Adult Scottie Losing His Teeth?
The loss of teeth in an aging adult Scottish Terrier is often due to periodontal disease, rather than just age itself.
This disease, caused by a buildup of plaque that hardens into tartar, damages the gums and leads to inflammation. If left untreated, it may weaken the root structures holding the teeth, causing them to fall out.
Other causes for tooth loss in your adult Scottie can include trauma and infections affecting the tooth enamel.
Regular dental check-ups with your veterinarian can help prevent these issues and maintain your dog’s dental health.
What is Periodontal Disease in Scottish Terriers?
Periodontal disease, a prevalent dental condition in dogs, including Scottish Terriers, is a progressive issue involving the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It starts with the buildup of plaque, a sticky substance comprised of saliva, food, and bacteria.
This plaque accumulation forms the first stage of the disease, leading to an immune response and inflammation known as gingivitis, the second stage.
If left untreated, the plaque hardens into tartar, traumatizing the adjoining tissue and bony tooth structure. This constitutes the third stage of the disease, and the inflammation and infection worsen.
Ultimately, in the fourth stage, the teeth begin to erode and lose grip, resulting in tooth decay.
Factors such as a lack of dental cleaning, a diet rich in carbs and sugars, genetics, and breed predisposition contribute to the development of periodontal disease.
Regular dental care and awareness of these risk factors can play a crucial role in preventing this common but serious condition in your Scottish Terrier.
How Often Should I Brush My Scottie’s Teeth?
Just like us, Scottish Terriers need regular brushing to maintain optimal dental hygiene.
The ideal routine is to brush your Scottie’s teeth daily, and if possible, even twice a day. At a minimum, aim to brush their teeth 3 to 4 times a week.
This helps reduce plaque formation, which can start developing just hours after eating.
It’s beneficial to begin training your dog to accept tooth brushing as a routine practice while they are still a puppy, making this care task easier as they grow.
How Much Does Professional Teeth Cleaning for Scottish Terriers Cost?
Professional teeth cleaning for Scottish Terriers by a general veterinary professional can cost between $200 and $900, with scaling and potential tooth extractions included.
If opting for a certified veterinary dentist, charges can go up to $4000, depending on the procedures like dental filling or extractions.
The use of general anesthesia, especially for tooth extraction, is a significant factor that may affect the cost.
Regular check-ups and home care can help minimize the need for these more expensive procedures.
Why Does My Scottie Grind His Teeth?
If you’ve noticed your Scottish Terrier grinding his teeth, a behavior known medically as ‘Bruxism,’ you may be concerned about the underlying cause.
There are several factors that might lead your Scottie to grind his teeth:
- Pain and Discomfort: Pain in the oral cavity or elsewhere in the body, such as the abdomen (colic) or joints (arthritis), can lead to teeth grinding.
- Anxiety, Stress, or Fear: Emotional distress may manifest as teeth grinding in some dogs.
- Dental Issues: Various dental conditions can cause teeth grinding, including:
- Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums, characterized by swelling, redness, and pain.
- Malaligned Tooth: Misaligned teeth can prompt grinding due to the teeth’s anatomical disposition.
- Tooth Fractures: Trauma, chewing on hard objects, or underlying infections can cause fractures in the enamel or crown.
- Malocclusion: There are two types of malocclusion:
- Skeletal Malocclusion: A difference in the length of the upper and lower jaw, such as Brachygnathia (where the upper jaw is longer).
- Dental Malocclusion: The jaw length is the same, but one or more teeth are abnormally aligned.
Understanding the potential reasons for teeth grinding is the first step in addressing the problem. Consult with a veterinarian to pinpoint the specific cause in your Scottie, as the appropriate treatment will vary depending on the underlying issue.
What Can I Give My Scottish Terrier for Tooth Pain Relief?
If your Scottish Terrier shows signs of tooth pain—such as teeth grinding, pawing at the mouth, refusal to play with toys or eat—it’s essential to consult your Veterinarian.
These symptoms may indicate underlying issues like periodontal disease, halitosis (bad breath), bleeding gums, sores in the mouth, or tooth fractures. A professional oral examination is necessary to diagnose the specific problem.
Your Veterinarian may prescribe an NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drug) like Meloxicam, Deracoxib, or Carprofen, known for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, to relieve the tooth pain.
Other recommendations may include dental scaling, switching to a soft, easily chewable semi-solid diet, soothing dental gels, or cold compresses.
The best course of action will depend on your pet’s unique situation, so never self-medicate without professional guidance, as it may exacerbate the problem.
My Scottie Lost a Tooth While Playing. What Should I Do?
If your Scottish Terrier loses a tooth while playing, particularly with hard objects, it’s essential to act promptly.
Take your dog to the Veterinarian for a thorough dental checkup. If a portion of the tooth is left below the gum line, it could lead to infection and must be extracted by a professional.
In some cases, a tooth may become loose rather than completely falling off. In this situation, a procedure called a root canal may be performed by a Veterinary dentist.
The procedure involves removing the injured or infected pulp, cleaning and disinfecting the area, and filling it with a biocompatible material to seal the canal.
Prompt professional care is crucial to prevent complications and protect your Scottie’s dental health.
Why Does My Scottie Lick Other Dogs’ Teeth?
Licking another dog’s teeth may seem peculiar to humans, but it’s a common behavior among dogs, including Scottish Terriers.
According to behaviorists, this action serves several purposes. It can be a form of appeasement, showing affection and respect toward other dogs. In a pack, a submissive dog may lick the dominant dog’s teeth as a sign of submission.
Puppies might also lick the mouths of parent dogs to taste chewed food.
Additionally, this behavior taps into a dog’s investigative instinct, as they may lick other dogs’ mouths and teeth to pick up scents and tastes of food.
What is the Best Toothpaste for Scottish Terriers?
Brushing your Scottish Terrier’s teeth is an essential practice to avoid tartar buildup and the costly implications of periodontal disease. The right toothpaste plays a crucial role in maintaining oral hygiene and keeping your dog’s mouth fresh.
While choosing a toothpaste, it’s vital to steer clear of human toothpastes, as they may contain xylitol, a substance that can be toxic to dogs by causing hypoglycemia.
Opt for a dog-specific toothpaste, ideally an enzymatic one, containing enzymes that help combat bacteria and clean the teeth. Enzymatic toothpastes are formulated with scrubbing ingredients that reduce tartar buildup and improve bad breath.
One such recommended product is Petsmile toothpaste, accepted by the standards of the Veterinary Oral Health Council. This toothpaste stands out as an effective option for your Scottie’s dental hygiene, ensuring a healthy and sparkling smile.
What is the Best Dog Food for Oral Care?
Oral care in dogs requires attention to dietary choices, particularly if you want to prevent issues like tartar and bad breath. Specialized dental dry foods, designed by veterinarians and nutritionists, provide significant benefits over conventional wet foods that can become lodged between teeth.
These dental dry foods are characterized by larger, airy, and fibrous kibble. As your dog chews, the kibble splits, and its edges scrub the teeth, removing plaque.
Choosing VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) accepted foods ensures a product designed specifically for oral care. One such example is Hill’s Science Diet, recognized by the VOHC for its efficacy in maintaining oral hygiene while still delivering balanced nutrition to your dog.
Making such mindful choices in dog food can be a vital step in keeping your Scottish Terrier’s teeth healthy and clean.
What are the Best Dental Treats for Scotties?
Dental treats provide a fun way to clean your Scottish Terrier’s teeth, combining enjoyment with oral health benefits. These treats are available in varieties that are safe, natural, and VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) approved, which makes them a perfect supplement to your dog’s dental care routine.
When choosing dental treats for your Scottie, consult with your veterinarian to get specific recommendations tailored to your dog’s age, breed, size, and dental health.
The appropriate size and texture are crucial to prevent choking and promote effective cleaning. Look for textured treats with ridges, bumps, or grooves that help remove plaque and tartar.
Always seek treats that carry the VOHC seal, which signifies their effectiveness in reducing dental issues.
Natural treats made without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives are preferable, and avoid those with excessive sugars or fillers that may lead to dental problems.
One popular option that meets these criteria is grain-free Greenies dental chews.
Investing in quality dental treats like these can make maintaining your Scottie’s oral health a pleasurable experience for both you and your beloved pet.
How Can I Whiten My Scottie’s Teeth?
Whitening your Scottish Terrier’s teeth requires attention to dental care and hygiene, as the buildup of plaque and tartar can dull the natural color of the teeth and lead to other dental issues.
To whiten your Scottie’s teeth, consider shifting to dry food with an appropriate kibble size that aids in cleaning. Utilize dog-specific toothpaste and brushes, or opt for VOHC-approved dental cleaning solutions and whitening additives like TropiClean Fresh Breath Advanced Whitening.
Regular dental check-ups with your veterinarian are essential, and professional dental scaling may be required to eliminate tartar buildup and restore your dog’s pearly whites.
Always consult your vet for tailored recommendations for your pet’s dental care.
How Can I Get Rid of Bad Dog Breath?
Bad breath, or halitosis, in dogs is often a sign of advancing periodontal disease. To combat this issue, consult your Veterinarian and adopt proper oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing.
Products like VOHC-approved Bluestem Oral Care breath fresheners can be an excellent addition to your dog’s dental care routine.
These fresheners are safe, natural, and effective in controlling bad breath, helping to maintain a fresh and healthy mouth for your pet.
Scottie Dental Care Takeaway
Maintaining your dog’s dental health requires a balanced approach. This includes a specific oral care diet, regular tooth brushing with dog-specific toothpaste, the utilization of dental chews and fresheners, and, most importantly, regular veterinary dental examinations.
Following this regimen can help prevent periodontal disease and keep your Scottie’s teeth healthy and strong.