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.