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Hello, first time poster, long time lurker. Need some advice...


A week ago my dog was chewing on a bully stick and all of a sudden he was pawing at his mouth and was bleeding a little bit. I took the bully stick away and tried to look in his mouth. I couldn't really find anything. Fast forward to the other day and he was pawing at his mouth after eating some dry kibble and had a little bleeding. I looked again in his mouth and it looked like a piece of his molar tooth broke off. I compared both sides of the mouth. The tooth on one side has three ridges and the other side has two ridges.



Anyway, I took him to the vet yesterday and the doctor said he has a lot of chipped teeth but that was normal. He said he needs a dental cleaning with anesthesia and then when he is under he will decide if any extractions are needed. I am having them do a full panel of blood work on him. The doctor says the blood panel tests for 60 things and rules out complications for the anesthesia.



My concern is the anesthesia for my dog of 10.5 years old. Should I be worried? He has been under anesthesia twice before and did fine, but the last one was about 5 years ago.



Also, from the research I did, bleeding from teeth usually means the pulp is exposed... Is that correct? If so, then he definitely needs an extraction right?
 

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I know many older dogs go under anesthesia older for teeth cleaning and are fine. There is always a risk going under anesthesia. Your dog had no issues prior with anesthesia so always good. It is good the blood working is getting done and you trust your vet. Any dental infections could lead to more issues. I would ask the vet about signs of exposed pulp.
 

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I know many older dogs go under anesthesia older for teeth cleaning and are fine. There is always a risk going under anesthesia. Your dog had no issues prior with anesthesia so always good. It is good the blood working is getting done and you trust your vet. Any dental infections could lead to more issues. I would ask the vet about signs of exposed pulp.

Thanks for the reply. I will ask him about that. Should I ask for x-rays? Will an infection show up on a blood test?
 

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X-rays should be part of the dental procedure if there is suspected breakage. That shows if any abscesses have formed around the roots of the tooth.
 

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There's always a concern with anesthesia....always...that said....until recently we had 2 senior males one is approaching 14 he had a dental cleaning when he was 12 with 2 extractions...the other male Cody who we recently lost had a dental at around 11.5 with one extraction that tooth was split in 2 pieces that was easy to see (I found it while checking inside his mouth).....but the majority of the time teeth which need extracting are found by x-ray while under anesthesia so I'd assume your vet will do an x-ray.....BUT in your shoes yes I'd mention it.....neither of these seniors had an issue with the anesthesia or the procedure...both of these guys had been through major surgeries before with no anesthesia issues.


My vets specialty is dental and he's got a pretty good team around him- IMO that's very important where anesthesia is involved--I don't know where you're located OR how comfortable your are with your vet....many areas of the US have vets who specialize in dental...but only you know if this is your regular vet and---if you're comfortable with him



Bleeding from a tooth itself would likely mean pulp is exposed--but these guys are like humans in that they get tarter build up and their gums will bleed easier when chewing (not always a tooth) on a hard object sometimes...that's your vets call IMO.....I will say that in both cases these dogs were not chewing their food normally (as you said about your dog)....for me that's what prompted the initial vet visits
 

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Yeah, with a broken tooth, you really do need to do something...but extraction possibly isn't the only option. A vet dentist can sometimes put a topical sealant on some kinds of minor breaks that bonds with the dentin and forms a permanent fix -- depending on the kind of break.


No, an infection is unlikely to show up on a blood test unless the dog is gravely ill to the point its interfering with metabolic processes. It's something usually observed during the oral exam.


If you have the means and/or pet insurance to deal with the broken tooth, I would probably take the dog to a vet dentist. They can do a cleaning as an "add on" for a small up-charge while fixing the molar. The vet dentists I've known have also had advanced surgery suites (with "Bair hugger" warmers to maintain body temperature, etc.)....which not all GP vets have. I'm told that the way fluids are administered during surgery can also improve safety for seniors.

You can save a little money by having the regular vet run the bloodwork for you (as it's usually cheaper than through the specialist).

At university vet school clinics, and some specialty clinics, you can usually also request a vet anesthesiologist to be present. This article might be helpful in explaining the difference between a surgery at a general practice clinic vs. at a vet school:
https://now.tufts.edu/articles/pets-and-anesthesia
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There's always a concern with anesthesia....always...that said....until recently we had 2 senior males one is approaching 14 he had a dental cleaning when he was 12 with 2 extractions...the other male Cody who we recently lost had a dental at around 11.5 with one extraction that tooth was split in 2 pieces that was easy to see (I found it while checking inside his mouth).....but the majority of the time teeth which need extracting are found by x-ray while under anesthesia so I'd assume your vet will do an x-ray.....BUT in your shoes yes I'd mention it.....neither of these seniors had an issue with the anesthesia or the procedure...both of these guys had been through major surgeries before with no anesthesia issues.


My vets specialty is dental and he's got a pretty good team around him- IMO that's very important where anesthesia is involved--I don't know where you're located OR how comfortable your are with your vet....many areas of the US have vets who specialize in dental...but only you know if this is your regular vet and---if you're comfortable with him



Bleeding from a tooth itself would likely mean pulp is exposed--but these guys are like humans in that they get tarter build up and their gums will bleed easier when chewing (not always a tooth) on a hard object sometimes...that's your vets call IMO.....I will say that in both cases these dogs were not chewing their food normally (as you said about your dog)....for me that's what prompted the initial vet visits

I am in Southern California. The vet I am using is at Loma Linda Animal Hospital. They have a dental suite but I don't know if he is a certified vet dentist. I have a call back from him this afternoon to discuss the blood results and ask my questions.
 

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Hi Reckzx & WELCOME! :greet:

We just went thru this with our 11 year old last year.

I was a basket case leading up to this dental procedure (3 extractions and cleaning) b/c we lost a 10 year old GSD to anesthesia years ago.

Instead of going to our regular vet, we chose a board certified dentist to help calm my fears. They were wonderful and a trained Tech was assigned just to her until we left. They let me sit with her after the initial calming shot and also after she was out of the recovery room while she was waking up.

I would ask if they use the following:
-Warming blanket
-Advanced Patient Monitoring: includes blood pressure, ekg, and respiratory monitoring

Best of luck!
Moms :)
 

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Yeah, with a broken tooth, you really do need to do something...but extraction possibly isn't the only option. A vet dentist can sometimes put a topical sealant on some kinds of minor breaks that bonds with the dentin and forms a permanent fix -- depending on the kind of break.


No, an infection is unlikely to show up on a blood test unless the dog is gravely ill to the point its interfering with metabolic processes. It's something usually observed during the oral exam.


If you have the means and/or pet insurance to deal with the broken tooth, I would probably take the dog to a vet dentist. They can do a cleaning as an "add on" for a small up-charge while fixing the molar. The vet dentists I've known have also had advanced surgery suites (with "Bair hugger" warmers to maintain body temperature, etc.)....which not all GP vets have. I'm told that the way fluids are administered during surgery can also improve safety for seniors.

You can save a little money by having the regular vet run the bloodwork for you (as it's usually cheaper than through the specialist).

At university vet school clinics, and some specialty clinics, you can usually also request a vet anesthesiologist to be present. This article might be helpful in explaining the difference between a surgery at a general practice clinic vs. at a vet school:

I will look into that, thanks for the article as well. To be honest I was a little shocked about how cheap this procedure is. Has me wondering what the quality is. It was $195 for the exam and blood work yesterday. The anesthesia is $100 and the dental cleaning is $100. If extraction is needed, it is $11 per tooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Reckzx & WELCOME! :greet:

We just went thru this with our 11 year old last year.

I was a basket case leading up to this dental procedure (3 extractions and cleaning) b/c we lost a 10 year old GSD to anesthesia years ago.

Instead of going to our regular vet, we chose a board certified dentist to help calm my fears. They were wonderful and a trained Tech was assigned just to her until we left. They let me sit with her after the initial calming shot and also after she was out of the recovery room while she was waking up.

I would ask if they use the following:
-Warming blanket
-Advanced Patient Monitoring: includes blood pressure, ekg, and respiratory monitoring

Best of luck!
Moms :)

Hello, thank you. I appreciate the help, I definitely will be asking these questions.
 

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Mine had to go under for an extraction when she was 11. She did fine. She broke a tooth and there were shards.

Her teeth are MUCH more brittle than they used to be. I have to be very careful that she does not chew the younger dog's chews. She gets a senior kong every day with part of her meal because she still enjoys chewing she just can't chew hard things.

She has a little slab missing from one of her molars too but my ver examined it while she was under and said he thought it was better to leave it since it was shallow and he said the tooth was basically intact. Apparently extracting a molar is a really big deal

She has broken and had removed two of her little front teeth (each one to the inside of her canines. She doesn't seem to miss those.
 

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If the blood was coming from the actual tooth and not just form irritated gums, then there is most likely pulp exposure. The break can be a direct route for bacteria to enter and cause infection. When my girl broke her canine the pulp was visible due to significant damage and the vet put her on abx until we could get her into the dentist.

While she was under anesthesia the dentist called to asked permission to pull an incisor that was damaged from some unknown previous event. The X-ray showed a “halo” around the root location which was sign of an infection. Poor girl we had no idea. Good luck, hope all goes well.
 

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I will look into that, thanks for the article as well. To be honest I was a little shocked about how cheap this procedure is. Has me wondering what the quality is. It was $195 for the exam and blood work yesterday. The anesthesia is $100 and the dental cleaning is $100. If extraction is needed, it is $11 per tooth.
:surprise: :surprise: :surprise:


Look for a "Board Certified" in your area.


Mine was around $978.00 NOT including pre-surgery blood work!!!


Dentist Bill: Vet Dentist.jpg



Moms :)
 

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I will look into that, thanks for the article as well. To be honest I was a little shocked about how cheap this procedure is. Has me wondering what the quality is. It was $195 for the exam and blood work yesterday. The anesthesia is $100 and the dental cleaning is $100. If extraction is needed, it is $11 per tooth.
That is unusually low. I was quoted a much higher amount for a cleaning, and even more if extractions are needed.
 

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:surprise: :surprise: :surprise:


Look for a "Board Certified" in your area.


Mine was around $978.00 NOT including pre-surgery blood work!!!


Dentist Bill



Moms :)
That is close to what I was given as an estimate. Her teeth need cleaning but don’t look like extractions are necessary. I put it off due to other ongoing health problems.
 

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All our senior dogs have been put under anesthesia for different things, dentals, xrays, etc., the oldest being 12. All did fine. One of my gsd, Cody, did seem like it effected him more. He would come home and sleep VERY heavily, like his eyes almost seemed to sink back, kinda freaked me out, he would be fine the next day. I had never heard of MDR1 then, but now after I had learned about it, it does effect 10 percent of German shepherds. Now I wonder if that's why he'd sleep so heavily after a procedure. Maybe not, he was never tested for the gene. My other dogs, Clipper the gsd and Moo, non gsd, never slept like that afterward. I had read about MDR1 researching collies.
 

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Blood results came out fine, almost perfect the Dr. said. The certified dentist closest to me doesn't have very good reviews. Going to have a full set of x-rays done. Everything is scheduled for next week. Yeah the pricing does seem low, although my dog's last anesthesia was an emergency surgery for a ripped ear (had to stitch it back together) and it was only about $500 bucks.
 

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It's probably good that you are proceeding with the dental care. Unfortunately I didn't notice my prior dog, Becca, had a damaged tooth until she had some facial swelling. At that point, she had an infection and other teeth were involved. She ended up seeing a doggie dentist, had to have several teeth extracted, with a bill of around $3,500.



I was surprised that Becca didn't appear to show signs of a problem, prior to the swelling. Her appetite was fine.


I'm thinking I'll likely do some proactive dental care with my puppy, Cassie. I know with even the best efforts, dogs can end up with damaged teeth. Hopefully with periodic exams and cleaning, I can prevent a situation that affects several teeth.
 

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I'm thinking I'll likely do some proactive dental care with my puppy, Cassie. I know with even the best efforts, dogs can end up with damaged teeth. Hopefully with periodic exams and cleaning, I can prevent a situation that affects several teeth.

Yep, I've ended up being convinced cleanings really are necessary in most dogs (at least the ones eating kibble), after having senior problems in dogs that didn't have them, in the past. The bacteria from gum disease almost certainly shorten lives too. This article is interesting, on the difference in life span:

https://www.petmd.com/dog/grooming/evr_dg_oral_hygiene_and_your_dogs_health?page=2


It seems like it really starts to matter around age 3. By that age, 80% of dogs have gum disease starting. That's when they start accumulating lots of tartar, if they're fed kibble. We actually were taught to use the tartar build-up on the back molars as one of the markers to "age" dogs that "look" young in rescue--if it's there, the rule of thumb is they're at least 3.

If you want to be conservative with cleanings (and anesthesia), and your dog is an enthusiastic chewer, there's an argument that you don't have to do it every year, even on an adult kibble-eater -- if you regularly offer healthy chews to help clean the teeth and scrape the gums. (For my dogs, that means an occasional raw frozen edible bone, like a chicken drumstick or turkey neck, or a chicken foot, or beef trachea tubes, and beef bully sticks.)

Since my dogs are chewers, and based on how they present, my vet has approved my dogs being in an "every few years" rotation--he checks the teeth during their annual exam, and when they're showing build up, we schedule the dental. Sometimes that means every other year, sometimes every 3, but we base it on the individual dog.
 

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Yep, I've ended up being convinced cleanings really are necessary in most dogs (at least the ones eating kibble), after having senior problems in dogs that didn't have them, in the past. The bacteria from gum disease almost certainly shorten lives too. This article is interesting, on the difference in life span:

https://www.petmd.com/dog/grooming/evr_dg_oral_hygiene_and_your_dogs_health?page=2


It seems like it really starts to matter around age 3. By that age, 80% of dogs have gum disease starting. That's when they start accumulating lots of tartar, if they're fed kibble. We actually were taught to use the tartar build-up on the back molars as one of the markers to "age" dogs that "look" young in rescue--if it's there, the rule of thumb is they're at least 3.

If you want to be conservative with cleanings (and anesthesia), and your dog is an enthusiastic chewer, there's an argument that you don't have to do it every year, even on an adult kibble-eater -- if you regularly offer healthy chews to help clean the teeth and scrape the gums. (For my dogs, that means an occasional raw frozen edible bone, like a chicken drumstick or turkey neck, or a chicken foot, or beef trachea tubes, and beef bully sticks.)

Since my dogs are chewers, and based on how they present, my vet has approved my dogs being in an "every few years" rotation--he checks the teeth during their annual exam, and when they're showing build up, we schedule the dental. Sometimes that means every other year, sometimes every 3, but we base it on the individual dog.
If you brush your dogs teeth they do remarkably better. I have a 12 year old dog who had her teeth cleaned as a courtesy during that extraction at age 11. They really had no tartar buildup at all, and that was her first and only cleaning in her life. Every vet she has ever been to remarked about how clean her teeth are.

Now my boy is 3 1/2 and he does have some small stains in one side but it is nothing like the buildup I see on my boarder dog's teeth and my dogs don't have bad breath.

We brush with CET. My old yellow dog adopted at age 3 and started brushing, he never had to have a cleaning and he passed at age 10 from cancer with pretty clean teeth, healthy gums, and nice breath.
 
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