Opinions on dental care?

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Opinions on dental care?

Postby Nichole » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:05 pm

A couple months ago I had a scare with a broken tooth and a moose antler. The tooth didn't need dental care thankfully. I dodged a bullet!

Now today, I'm looking at Sadie's enormous toothy grin. she has beautiful white teeth secondary to her raw diet. I saw a flash of brownish color on one of her back molars. I looked at that molar and compared it to the other side - definitely looks broken and I am seeing what I assume is the pulp? It's not pink. It looks like a brown shade of tartar. I will try to post pics but those will be tricky to take.

She isn't bothered at all and on one hand I am not sure I trust her to tell me if she were, but wouldnt she be doing *something* if it hurt? Drooling, issues eating, something?

Talking with a few dog people here and there about dog dental issues and some owners are to the point of - if it isn't bothering them, don't fuss with it.

If they fix it (root canal, crown) would she have to stop eating the rib bones she loves so much?

What are your thoughts? Resident vets thoughts? Long time dog owners?
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby k8nkane » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:30 pm

If it really hurt, she would be eating differently, more slowly/carefully, possibly less often.

Kane has a brown spot on one of his teeth in the back, but I'm not too concerned about it unless it turns black. I just keep an eye on it. Dental surgery is a serious surgery, and IMO should only be done if absolutely necessary.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby Nichole » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:37 pm

k8nkane wrote: Dental surgery is a serious surgery, and IMO should only be done if absolutely necessary.


And that definitely goes into the thought process. It's always about the risks vs the benefits when it comes to any procedure. There's always a risk with anesthesia.

I'm almost positive if I go see my vet they will recommend putting her under for a root canal and crown, or extraction. Maybe I'm wrong, but if I went off the convo we had a month ago I'm pretty sure I'm not.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby Nichole » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:04 pm

Here's some pics. It's a little blurry but it's hard to focus on something so small on something that moves so much (Saaaadiiiiiieeee SIT STILL OMG)

Image

Image
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby k8nkane » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:11 pm

You did better than I would have with my boydog Kane, LOL. That's darker than Kane's spot, but I don't know if I'd go for the surgery still. I'd probably have my vet take a look at it and ask for her advice and/or suggestions, things to watch for, etc. But I trust my vet not to BS me and I know not everyone has access to a vet like that.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby Amie » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:33 pm

Liberty has spots like that on almost all of her teeth, right up to the front ones, top and bottom. Has since before she came to me.

You can *kind of* see on her front teeth in this photo
Image

When I brought it directly to the vet's attention (during her initial exam of Lib) she said not to worry unless it causes Lib pain. She's seen two vets since, and none have been bothered by it.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby Enigma » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:36 pm

Nichole wrote:She isn't bothered at all and on one hand I am not sure I trust her to tell me if she were, but wouldnt she be doing *something* if it hurt? Drooling, issues eating, something?
It depends on the dog, but bully breeds are tough, this was Brina's teeth before surgery:

Image

If you didn't open her mouth and look inside you would never know she had any issues with her teeth. She never showed any signs that she's in pain, she chewed stuff, ate normally, all that even though her teeth were really bad...

If they fix it (root canal, crown) would she have to stop eating the rib bones she loves so much?
In Brina's case, they had to extract almost all teeth in the left side of her upper jaw, plus all her front teeth and she still chews bones (rawhide bones and bully sticks) without problems, she just uses her good side.

But i'm no expert, just sharing my experience with dental surgery. :thumbsup: Sadie's tooth doesn't look that bad, some of Brina's remaining teeth look worse and the dental surgeon decided they are healthy enough not to extract :dunno:
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby Libby » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:38 pm

Gypsy's had two molars removed, and she has no issues chewing bones. Most of her remaining molars have the same look, and they don't bother her a bit.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby Leslie H » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:53 pm

Xanny's 2 lower canines broke off at the gumline about 4 years ago. My vet advised no surgery, she's been fine.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby BabyReba » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:57 pm

the tips are chipped or broken off all of doc's molars. some were like that when i got him, some have chipped since i've had him. none have exposed pulp or root, but they are discolored and brown at the tips from wear. no vet has ever thought it necessary to do anything to them, since they're not fractured or splitting ... just worn. he gets bones still.

we had a whole bunch of button's teeth removed because they were all breaking off and falling out, but we could tell they were bothering him because he wasn't into playing ball or chewing on things ... he acted normal, but he'd grab something in his mouth then spit it out pretty quickly and move on to something else. not normal behavior for his rambunctious self! after we removed them, the vet did tell us to limit his hard chewing because his teeth are not very good/strong ... i know he has more loose teeth and several of his molars are tipped. poor kid.

my old lady reba lost a molar that just fell out one day on its own. we had no idea when it happened, i just noticed one day that it was gone. my vet didn't think it necessary to do anything with it, we just left it be. she also broke the tips off two canines. again, no exposed pulp, but the teeth did discolor a bit. we just kept an eye, she still got to eat bones, and she died at the ripe old age of 16 without any major dental intervention ...

so don't give up hope, it may not be as bad as you think it is! good luck.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby Misskiwi67 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:17 am

Leslie H wrote:Xanny's 2 lower canines broke off at the gumline about 4 years ago. My vet advised no surgery, she's been fine.


She will not be fine forever... I see many of these dogs 3, 4 and 5 years later with severe infections. Upper canines tend to get oronasal fistulas too, which can require multiple surgeries to correct, you're better off with them being lower canines.

The rule is - if there is pulp exposure, the tooth will either die, or be chronically painful. Some dogs show pain, others do not. Most dogs don't show drooling or changes in appetite until severe infection is present, sometimes you will have a nasty swollen abscess (ever talk to anyone with these, they HURT!!!!) and those dogs will still be eating and acting normally.

Dogs are crappy at showing signs of pain. It is our job to proactively prevent the pain you know will occur because we know they are hurting, they just don't tell you they are hurting.

If there is pulp exposure, the tooth should have a root canal or be extracted. If there is not root exposure, you are A-ok. Romeo has a slab fracture, there is not root exposure, so I just keep an eye on it. You can determine if there is root exposure in an awake dog by using a dental tool to see if there is a depression in the center of the tooth. Any veterinary technician with experience in proactive dental care can do this...

Beware veterinarians expertise in dental care. Many many vets are years behind in advanced dental care. Finding a good dental vet is harder than finding a vet who does 3 year vaccines. I used to work at a clinic where there could be an abscess, but if the tooth wasn't loose, they wouldn't do anything about it. This is TERRIBLE medicine, and there are lots of vets out there who haven't kept up.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:42 pm

k8nkane wrote:If it really hurt, she would be eating differently, more slowly/carefully, possibly less often.


Not true. Buddy had resorptive lesions on 15 of her teeth, meaning they required extractions. The ONLY reason we ever suspected an issue is because she was chewing a rawhide and one of her molars fell out!

We put her under the following Monday to extract the roots that were left behind and discovered her mouth was a mess.

According to the veterinary dental surgeon we consulted for her case, root resporbtion IS painful. Buddy showed zero outward symptoms. Was eating, chewing, playing normally.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby Nichole » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:17 pm

Misskiwi67 wrote:Beware veterinarians expertise in dental care. Many many vets are years behind in advanced dental care. Finding a good dental vet is harder than finding a vet who does 3 year vaccines. I used to work at a clinic where there could be an abscess, but if the tooth wasn't loose, they wouldn't do anything about it. This is TERRIBLE medicine, and there are lots of vets out there who haven't kept up.


And there lies my paranoia and fear. How do I know? I'm not in the field. I don't know who is up and who isn't.

She has an appt on Thursday for her corneal ulcer. I'm going to show them the tooth. If they recommend putting her under for a more thorough look I am going to instead ask for a referral to - I dunno - I guess a dentist. My google skills says there is one in the Seattle area.

I have a fb teammate who is a newly graduated vet. Maybe she'll have some insight into who to send her to. I feel like I'm walking pretty blindly into this and I hate that feeling.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby Misskiwi67 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:46 pm

Nichole wrote:I have a fb teammate who is a newly graduated vet. Maybe she'll have some insight into who to send her to. I feel like I'm walking pretty blindly into this and I hate that feeling.


Its not the worlds greatest way to determine quality, but if a clinic has a dental radiograph machine and USES it... then they're likely to be on the up and up.

If you are in seattle and have access to a dentist, even better!

You shouldn't need to be anesthetizing your pup to check for pulp exposure if you were able to get photos of that caliber, you obviously have a cooperative pup. With that said, anesthesia and x-rays are the only way to know what is going on with the whole tooth instead of just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.
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Re: Opinions on dental care?

Postby MarMar » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:17 pm

Becky (my GSD) broke THREE teeth last winter (bad dog). The first was an upper premolar, slab fracture, but I was lucky and there was nothing exposed, and she just got a polymer repair, but they were able to probe the tooth just fine with her awake. Just a couple of weeks later she split two of her bottom incisors right in half down into the gumline. That HAD to hurt, but I never would have known if I hadn't been pokin around in her mouth...she showed no signs. Those two had to be pulled. I was ALSO really lucky because one of my good friends and classmate is the tech at a dental specialist so I saved a bit of $$. I'd be happy to ask her any questions if you want, their place is AMAZING.
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