Tooth extraction?

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heartbullies
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Tooth extraction?

Postby heartbullies » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:16 am

I have been worrying about this, and worrying that it will be some huge expense, and of course the longer I worry, the more expensive it will be also... been trying to replenish Booker's emergency fund after a couple big hits in the past year, but I think I am going to bite the bullet and make an appointment anyway.

I am worried that he will have to get a tooth extracted. Not a little tooth either, but a large tooth on the back side of his mouth. It's #108 or #208 on the dental chart, which of course has to be the BIGGEST tooth in his mouth, that last big premolar. There is no pulp or root visible but it is becoming gradually more discolored- he got a slab fracture from chewing a raw bone. I researched various doggy dentistry options and talked to some people (who have spent upwards of $1000 on root canals, etc.) and I am worried about having the tooth extracted because he is only about 5 years old, is an enthusiastic chewer and player and tugger, and I don't want to compromise the function and strength of the jaw bones, etc. but on the other hand... spending thousands of dollars on specialist dental surgery, crowns or root canals or whatever... ack. I work for a local government shelter that may be cutting more positions soon (I have only been there 2.5 years, so as far as seniority, I only outrank three people) and I may also be out of a place to live in less than 2 months, too. This is more instability than I've ever had in my adult life since I got to start calling the shots and bringing home a paycheck and doing my own budgeting, and the stress is making me, well, let's just say I feel extremely unwell. Thank doG for the dog.

If I go to a regular vet and have the dental and the tooth extracted, is there any chance that he could lead a normal, long, enthusiastic-chewing life and continue to eat some raw bones? Or, would my money-saving venture, ie not going to the dental specialist surgeon and instead going to a regular general practice vet for cleaning and extraction, compromise his long-term health and happiness? I think I can probably get CareCredit even though I haven't used any credit cards in about 3.5 years, but I wanted to find out opinions as far as regular, traditional dentals/extractions versus specialist dental work.

(FYI, I no longer give him anything really hard because I am worried about his teeth, he has an antler he gnaws on but it wears down instead of cracks like recreational bones. I will feed him tripe, and fish and chicken with bones, but mostly I have been feeding him more kibble lately than raw, and just brushing his teeth myself because I do not want him to break any more teeth.)

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Misskiwi67
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Postby Misskiwi67 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:32 am

Find a clinic that does dental radiographs. If the fracture is small, they will be able to determine if the tooth is still alive.

If its a slab fracture or a dead tooth, then the tooth is a painful ticking time bomb of infection, and it should really come out.

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Misskiwi67
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Postby Misskiwi67 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:33 am

Oh... and I know lots of dogs with no teeth at all who are still healthy and happy. I wouldn't worry at all about losing a tooth unless its a working dog.

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heartbullies
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Postby heartbullies » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:45 am

Ugh... yeah, I am calling tomorrow to schedule an appointment and was counting on x-rays. He doesn't show any sensitivity with prodding, poking, brushing, chewing, gnawing, etc. but Booker will keep playing fetch after he's ripped thick chunks of his paw pads off, leaving bloody pawprints... so that's not a really good way to judge!

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Postby Red » Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:13 am

and I am worried about having the tooth extracted because he is only about 5 years old, is an enthusiastic chewer and player and tugger, and I don't want to compromise the function and strength of the jaw bones,


I had two teeth pulled from Tux, one of them being the big ugly brownish thing you see in the picture and the other being a bottom canine.His teeth were a mess when I first got him.He is missing some bottom incisors as well.

Image

It might be different when a tooth in the back of the mouth is involved, depending what the problem is but Tux has quite a grip despite missing a few teeth:


Image

He is quite a chewer and considering how hard he chews on Nylabones and large marrow bones he seems not to have any problem.

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Postby Nickdawg » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:17 am

Nick had to have a number of teeth extracted and he did just fine w/o- one of them the specialist wanted to root canal and I said no b/c I couldn't afford the extra cost and had it pulled... I spend ALOT on his teeth... he saw a specialist for all more expensive but worth it I think as the guy really knew what he was doing. He was also willing to take payments, postdated cheques. The one time I took him to the regular vet who said she would do it, she decided she didn't feel confident to do it after all - his teeth were a real mess though (genetic/virus as pup/comething).

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L J Lawless
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Postby L J Lawless » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:56 am

Gator had two bad teeth when I adopted him.

You can see the lower premolar was brown in this picture.
<a><img src="http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s188/LJLawless/GatorsTeeth004.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a><img src="http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s188/LJLawless/GatorsTeeth003.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

An upper canine was cracked and ended up breaking off soon after this picture was taken.
<a><img src="http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s188/LJLawless/GatorsTeeth002.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

He would sometimes drool which I assumed was from the pain and I was also worried about infection so I had them extracted and he's fine now.

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Postby heartbullies » Sat Jan 17, 2009 5:44 pm

Alright, well, I made the appointment so we'll see. Thank you for sharing and all the photos, and thanks to the "resident DVM" for your input, too!

I just want to do the best by him, but I realize I will likely not be able to afford, say, root canals or fillings or implants or any of that intensive dentistry. So then I feel guilty for that. But I need to get the estimates first before I really make that decision, maybe it'll just be bargain day at the vet where everything is half-price!
roflmao roflmao

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Postby El_EmDubya » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:01 pm

Monte's 'emergency' insurance is through a local vet:

http://www.danvillevet.com/dr_briggs.php

We purchased their annual insurance package for $200/year which gives us 50% off most of their services. While we don't use him for our 'main vet' due to the retail feel/lack of holistic openness, he is a good guy and loves Pit Bulls. (There is a framed photo of an elderly Pit on one of exam rooms.)

He recommended a root canal on Monte's canine, which was black/gray, but didn't push our decision*. I believe the total bill was $750 which included all the X-Rays, surgery, and meds.

It would be worth it to talk to him, since he is only over the hill and doesn't do the hard core sell. I will, however, warn you about the retail vibe of the office. I HATE all the displays in the waiting room...

As for bones, I'd stick to turkey/chicken. It is pretty mushy, but still provides the teeth cleaning and nutrients.


LMW

* He also mentioned that raw feeders break far less teeth than Schutzhund participants.

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heartbullies
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Postby heartbullies » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:58 pm

Hmm, I still have that in my notebook. However, I seem to have inflated the price a LOT in my memory bank, from $750 to, oh, roughly $1700. lol That extra "1" in there really ratchets it up from "somewhat doable" land to "ha ha ha NO" hopeless territory. Although if their insurance takes 50% off the price, maybe that's where I extrapolated that number from. ?!

Maybe I will just have Booker go there for his appointment instead, and cancel the other one here. He needs a HW test, too which can be done at any vet but I like making the fewest trips "over the hill" on my days off!

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Postby tiva » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:03 pm

Good luck with the checkup. My oldest dog (14 yo husky) had a cracked canine tooth when I adopted her 13 years ago, and 6 years later it broke. The vet school quoted $1500 for a root canal over the phone. I took her into my regular vet (they do fairly extensive dentistry), and after x-rays, the regular vet decided that a filling would be sufficient because the fracture hadn't reached the root. He charged about $200 for the filling, and 7 years later, she's fine still.

My oldest pit bull (13 years old) broke several of her front teeth somehow last winter, and the vet simply extracted them during surgery for her mast cell tumor. She's also fine, and having missing front teeth doesn't seem to bother her at all.

The moral of these stories are that your vet may have some good options for you that are a lot less expensive than a root canal.

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Postby Kingsgurl » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:00 pm

Martin had two teeth pulled (slab fractures) one upper canine and one small tooth in front. He chews better now lol

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bamawrly
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Postby bamawrly » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:17 pm

I wouldn't worry about it. I work for a human dentist and people survive without multiple teeth all the time.

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heartbullies
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Postby heartbullies » Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:55 pm

We went to Monte's vet this morning. I got good news-- he thinks that Booker's one tooth just has heavy tartar buildup, and that a regular ol' dental is all that's needed. Even better news is that the dental, which is normally $700, is on sale for $275 through this upcoming Saturday which includes all bloodwork. I wasn't quite ready for it but that's what credit cards are for. So tomorrow I will get the HW test results, Monday on my way to work I am dropping off a sample for a fecal test (despite what I always say, for today at least it turns out Booker is NOT actually full of sh--! lol), and Saturday he is getting dropped off for the dental. Second time in a year he's been under general anesthesia. Bleh. :frown:

They remembered Monte. The doc said Booker's teeth and gums look a lot better than poor Monte-from-the-hurricane, even though Booker is a "grinder." (Guess he learned it from me?)


My only complaint about this vet is related to vaccinations. I legally have to have proof of current Rabies vaccination to license Booker. Okay. I also have to have proof of current DHPP vaccination in order to go to the training club we go to. Booker was vaccinated (DHPP) twice, one in June 2006 at the shelter, and once in July 2006 by an overzealous vet. I don't know about vaccinations earlier than that, he was an unclaimed stray at the shelter. He was due this upcoming July. I figured I would get the 3 year booster today while I was at the vet, I do NOT want to do annual vaccinations and am already sensitive about over-vaccinating animals, and frankly, would probably pass on a DHPP vaccination this year if I could. But he got the shot.

However when I checked my receipt, it said "Annual DHPP Vaccination." I called the vet, and they said that their DHPP vaccination they use (manufactured by Merial) is only good for one year, even though Booker has been previously vaccinated at least twice. So now next year he will need to be vaccinated *again* for DHPP, because the club won't accept a titer.

Meh. Anyway, the dental "sale" was really good news, I've been hoping to catch a break and I'll take it! Even if once he's under the vet finds a tooth that needs more work, etc. it will be so much less expensive starting from $275 and up.... than $700 and up. Phew.

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El_EmDubya
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Postby El_EmDubya » Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:43 pm

heartbullies wrote:We went to Monte's vet this morning...

My only complaint about this vet is related to vaccinations.


I'd forgotten about that. Sorry, they are bad about pushing the vaccinations.

Glad to hear it is a minor issue :))

LMW


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