Due to their small mouths and fine bones relative to the size of their teeth, little dogs are at significantly higher risk for serious complications resulting from untreated dental disease. In fact, there may only be 1mm of bone between the end of the root tip and the outside of the lower jaw! This means that any bone loss from dental disease can easily weaken the bone and cause a pathological fracture of the jaw.
This case was a good example of why we recommend AGAINST anesthesia free dental cleanings. It is impossible to appropriately clean an animal’s teeth, especially below the gumline where dental disease occurs, without the aid of anesthesia. This little guy had been getting regular anesthesia-free cleanings every 3-6 months prior to seeing us. At the time we examined him, he already had a broken jaw secondary to advanced dental disease.