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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Dog Dentistry Question

I have a question that I can't get a good answer on from my vets. I have a rescued Shep that I have had about three years. Apparently she had to fend for herself for quite a while before she was rescued. As a result (according to my vet) her teeth suffered. Recently she broke the large side tooth in half from top to bottom. A root canal will cost 1200 and then if we have to cap it it appears that will be another 1200. What is the downside to pulling that tooth? Will it cost her years of her life? Will it cause other problems? The vet says a root canal may or may not work and that a cap may be imperative. She does not seem to have any pain yet but I am expecting it. I just really don't know the downside to her losing that tooth. I do not have enough information to consider the cost v benefit of having a root canal and maybe a cap vs pulling the tooth. My vet does not give me a clear cut answer on this question. He is not a dog dentist and will not do the procedure but has referred me to one about 2 hours away from where we live. Anyone have any thoughts or experince in this issue?

I am an approved foster home for national rescue organization
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 10:41 AM
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Re: Dog Dentistry Question

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Quote: Recently she broke the large side tooth in half from top to bottom.
Are you talking about the large premolar???? My male recently fractured his 3rd and 4th (lower) premolars. I took him to the dentist and his feeling was to pull the teeth. My dog is 8 and has 2 crowns on his canine teeth so the dentist believes in preserving the teeth if possible. He felt I would have less chance of problems down the road if we pulled the teeth. He did repair two other teeth.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-07-2007, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Dog Dentistry Question

It is the large side canine molar is what dentist said one of the two large teeth which are found on either side top

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-07-2007, 04:40 PM
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Re: Dog Dentistry Question

Where is the fracture within the tooth?

Zamboni fractured the largest chewing teeth - the molar. My vet -- a dental specialist -- was able to saw the tooth just on the other side of the fracture. He extracted the part of the tooth that had the fracture, did a Root Canal Treatment in the part that was still healthy, did a deep filling (no crown) over the RCT and that was oh, 8-9 years ago. The gum filled in around the extracted part, and she's still using that 1/2 tooth just fine.

Total cost back then was about $1500. She was under anesthesia for about 1-1.5 hours, but I'm pretty sure we cleaned her teeth at the same time.

Of course, you need a good specialist to be able to do a procedure like this. But depending where the break is, it's possible to save much of the tooth.

If the dentist says you can do an RCT and a crown, then I would seriously consider that a good route to go too (although I personally have never gone that route).

You see, on the other side of her mouth, several years later, the other molar fractured and actually splintered. (I used to let my dogs eat beef bones. I didn't know any better. Sigh....) We couldn't save it and we had to extract it. It does cause her problems whenever she has to chew something that's chewy or hard. I have to watch her when she eats kibble because sometimes, a piece gets by and she coughs it up. Did the extraction take years off her life? No. She's still bouncing around, eating, doing fine. The extraction was painful, but there was no infection. The gums sealed well and there have been no long-term effects at the extraction site itself, nor any effects on the adjoining teeth.

Nevertheless, I'm so thankful that we opted to save the opposite tooth.

The thing is, saving or losing one tooth now isn't a huge deal. But we don't know what will happen to the OTHER teeth as our dogs age. So I'm a big believer in saving any tooth I can now, just in case. RCTs do fail through no fault of the dentist. But if you have a good vet dentist and if you take good care of your dog's teeth (daily brushing, no hard bones, excellent nutrition, etc), an RCT with a deep filling can easily last a lifetime. An RCT with a crown has even better chances.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-07-2007, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Dog Dentistry Question

it is broke from top to bottom about a 3rd of the way into the tooth

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Dog Dentistry Question

bump sure would like to have some others weigh in here

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2007, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Dog Dentistry Question

anyone else. sure need help here

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2007, 11:55 AM
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Re: Dog Dentistry Question

The only advice/experience I have is from dogs I've owned in the past--in particular a daschund who lost several teeth throughout his life. Even at a fairly young age he had several teeth extracted because of decay, and it seemed not to affect him at all. By the end of his life, he was nearly toothless, but lived to the age of 18.

Give the vet dentist a call and see if they will offer any general opinions over the phone about the pros and cons of the proceedure. The cynic in me would keep in mind that the dentist stands to make more on the more complicated procedure than the extraction, but that's just me. $2400 to save a single tooth would be tough for me to swallow.

My totally unprofessional opinion is that a dog can loose one tooth without serious affect to health. Going forward, keep the rest of the teeth healthy, and I think everything would be fine.

Tracy
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2007, 11:57 AM
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Re: Dog Dentistry Question

The risks involved with leaving the tooth is that it gets infected down the road or it fractures more. My dog had fractured the whole face of his premolar so the pulp was somewhat affected. My K-9 dentist who normally encourages leaving the teeth in if possible decided to pull this tooth and the one next to it as it was cracked as well to prevent futher complications.

If you pull it you won't have to worry about future infections. I don't know if you have to worry about the tooth moving or not.

If you do the root canal/crown you should just keep an eye on it to make sure there is no infection or further damage to the tooth.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2007, 12:09 PM
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Re: Dog Dentistry Question

Just to clarify, I wouldn't recommend leaving the broken tooth in place. I was suggesting that extracting the damaged tooth might be a more reasonable option that reparing it. I don't think you should leave the broken tooth in place, for risk of infection, or pain.

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