Dr. Hart's Case: Mouth Mystery

The Patient

Leia, a 3-year-old female spayed Bull Terrier came to see Dr. Hart after she had been experiencing a red and inflamed area on the upper left gum with some purulent material visible. Leia also had some notably bad breath per owner but had been eating fine and did not seem sensitive to the affected area of gum when touched. Owner also notes that Leia is an avid stick chewer at home in her free time.

The Case

Upon examination, Leia presents with a 1cm area of erythema (redness) above the upper left carnassial tooth. Looking farther, Dr. Hart spots a foreign body just caudal to the upper left carnassial (204) that appears to be a small stick around 1.5cm in length and penetrating in behind the incisor exposing the root just slightly. There was an open pocket in the palate as well that luckily did not probe into the nasal cavity.

Leia Gums 1Leia Gums 4

The Treatment

Leia was such a sweet pup and did allow for some of the foreign material to be removed while awake. More shards of foreign material were seen and with the exposure of the tooth root, Dr. Hart recommended sedation to ensure no other area of the mouth had been affected and that all material could be removed with minimal stress to Leia. Owner approved of the recommendation to sedate Leia to attempt the full removal of the foreign body (stick) from the gum using a hemostat. After sedation, Leia was given a small local anesthetic to the area to ease discomfort while the procedure was in progress. Dr. Hart removed the stick shards with success and thoroughly flushed the area with saline to ensure that the nasal cavity had not been affected and that all foreign material had been removed. Leia was awakened from her sedation and sent home with a round of pain medication as well as antibiotics to overcome any infection and ease her pain at home. 

Leia SedationLeia Debris

The Outcome

Leia returned one week later with Dr. Hart for a recheck examination. The owner had been experiencing difficulty in giving Leia her antibiotic but had some success. Upon examination, Dr. Hart finds that the area of concern in the gums remained free of debris and also had no discharge. The area of gum behind the incisor is closing, however, there still remains a defect in the gum on the roof of the mouth and some incisor root is still visible. Dr. Hart recommends monitoring Leia's oral health closely for signs of infection or worsening of the condition. She also recommends continuing antibiotics despite Leia's reluctance to take medication to further complete the healing process.