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Tooth cleaning for 11 year old

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My new vet recommended a dental cleaning and possible filling or tooth extraction for my 11 year old BC. He noticed she had a chipped tooth which she has had for at least 4 years as our previous vet had noticed it last time her teeth were cleaned but said it was not a problem. She is in good health and does not have gum disease just a bit of tarter.

 

I don't know. I am a little bit worried about the anesthesia-the estimate includes as much as an hour for the procedure-at her age. I also think maybe pulling or sealing the chipped tooth might be a bit aggressive. It's not a problem now and has lasted without getting worse for years. She plays frisbee a lot and I think that is what chipped it. It's real expensive, too (not a deal breaker but a concern)

 

What do you think?

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Why not try giving her some raw meaty bones to see if that'll clean up the tartar? I switched a 6 y.o. dog with terrible tarter over to a raw diet and the vet was amazed at the transformation. Years later she'll comment about it and has mentioned it to vet students.

 

That won't help with the chipped too of course, but if it's not bothering her and the tartar gets cleaned away with a less invasive, less expensive and more enjoyable (for the dog) method, then I wouldn't put the dog through it. In fact, none of my dogs have ever had dental cleanings, including the aforementioned dog who lived to be a couple months shy of 18.

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My dog had a dental at 11 and at 13 and he was fine. As long as they do blood work, and it checks out ok, I wouldn't be worried about anestesia.

 

I would also start out with meaty bones.

 

Does the chipped tooth have pulp exposure? Is it black? There are so many different kinds of chipped teeth. Can you post a picture?

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I am a fan of regular raw meaty bones for keeping teeth clean.

 

As for chips and other rather minor damage, I have had dogs live long, healthy lives with teeth that were chipped or damaged. Sometimes a tooth with "minor" damage never has a problem with it and sometimes a problem can arise but, in my experience, it takes quite a bit of damage before a tooth becomes problematic.

 

Of course, my experience is limited to the dogs in my lifetime and I certainly don't have the training or experience of a veterinary professional.

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The chip does not seem to have any sort of pulp exposure and is the same color as the rest of her tooth. It's just a dent on one of her upper molars. It looks about the same as it did on her after photos last time her teeth were cleaned.

 

I will have a chance to ask the vet a few more questions when i get the results of her bloodwork.

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If there isn't pulp exposure I wouldn't worry about it. My golden has a crown fracture and my vet said no worries.

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One of my dogs had a dental at 15 and also two oral surgeries after that. And she had a heart condition. I use an actual board certified vet dentist. I would not have had it done at a regular vet office.

 

As for the chip, did they do xrays to see if the damage is more than meets the eye?

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As for the chip, did they do xrays to see if the damage is more than meets the eye?

 

I recently took my 12 yr heeler mix to the vet for his annual. I normally skip the annuals unless something comes up but I noticed he had some discoloration with his back set. The vet looked at one upper molar that she said it looked chipped and the only way to know if it could be/get infected is a dental exam. And for that they have to go under. I was told to monitor it, check for redness or swelling and see if anything develops. Other than that we were sent home with clean bill of health.

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Vets recommend dentals for the same reason people get their teeth cleaned. That plaque holds a ton of bacteria in the mouth which is overall unhealthy. All that mouth bacteria can rather easily get into the blood stream because the mouth is very vascular so that can lead to other prob like heart disease ect.

At 11 I would check blood work before any sedation. Depending on how much tarter there is, if any gum redness or recession just raw bones may or may not work well. A dental should get the tarter below the gum line for dogs just like it does for us. If it is only a few teeth I would try bones first.

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Anesthesias are much safer than they used to be and recovery is much faster, so her age should not be a problem as long as her bloodwork is fine.

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I am still waiting on the blood work but I am reassured to hear that a few of you have been able to have an older dog's teeth cleaned without a problem.

 

I have had some real bad experiences with vets so i have learned to question everything. Just to be safe I may take her to a veterinary dentist instead if I decide to have them cleaned.

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I had my old ladies teeth cleaned for the first time at 13. She had a cracked tooth and the vet was concerned about infection so we decided to do the extraction and dentistry. She came through with no issues.

I trusted the vet's call on this as we had been going to her since Jester was 3, and she had never felt she needed any dentistry before, our previous vet had wanted to clean her teeth when she was 2!

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Had our 11 yr old teeth cleaning done with no anesthesia, they evaluated her first to make sure her teeth were not to bad and her temperament good. The work is done by a team that travels around to different vet offices. She is really not a easy dog, but the team raved about her and her teeth now look great.

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Although I agree with raw bones as the perfect teeth cleaner, if there is a crack in the tooth, I would be concerned about an abscess forming in the gum line which can quickly lead to infection and possibly death due to the jaw being so close to the brain.

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I think that a fully qualified veterinary dental specialist would be able to do a dental on an older dog with success, but I understand the reluctance to put an elder dog under anesthesia.

 

There is a very useful oral gel called "Oratene". About $10 a tube online, and it is great stuff. There is "maintenance" gel and a more intensive "antiseptic" one if the problem is severe. have used it on older rescue dogs who had bad plaque build up. Brush and/or rub it on the teeth every day for about a week and it will actually soften up the plaque enough that you can chip it off with your thumbnail. Sounds unbelievable but I have seen it work time and again. works on cats, too, if you can get the cat to let you use it. ;)

 

Actually, it is great for human use as well, apparently. A vet tech told me that she had started using it when the dentist told her she needed extensive dental work for deep pockets in her gums, and she could not afford the dental work. She said after about six months of brushing with the gel she had a recheck with the dentist who was shocked at the improvement in her mouth and wanted to know what she had done!

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I was just browsing this thread and thought I'd share this experience - human, not canine, but perhaps pertinent.

 

My 92-year-old father had back pain. Suspected kidney stone, but then the pain returned. They did a procedure one day with him under anesthesia, and then a second procedure the next day with anesthesia. Upon awaking from the second knock-out, he was a different person: hardly able to lift his head off the pillow, incredibly weak. It took him two weeks in an intense rehab facility to be well enough to go home with a walker. (This was a guy who was walking with just a cane the day prior to the procedure.)

 

So, after this experience, I'll forever be more cautious about anesthesia in elderly humans AND dogs. Scary stuff!

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Lying in bed for the length of time that they keep a human down is very detrimental to the elderly. They lose muscle usage so easily. Since dogs typically get up immediately upon waking and stay pretty active compared to elderly humans, they usually don't have as hard a time as humans do. It's actually a problem at any age, but the elderly are more likely to also have balance issues. That's why they try to get people up and out of bed so much faster than they used to, like right after surgery. Dogs, being 4 legged and closer to the ground, don't suffer the same consequences when they have balance issues.

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Back to teeth and tartar and cleaning, when Dan was 15 months old, I took him out for training and he was there for five months. When I picked him up, his previously gorgeous, youthful, white teeth had brown tartar deposits. A few semi-frozen chicken backs later, his teeth were clean and bright again.

 

I am a firm believer in multiple benefits of raw bones for most dogs.

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Unless you want to pay for expensive dentals on a regular basis (plus the danger of anesthetic), I think it is either feed your dog raw bones or brush your dog's teeth carefully and regularly, one or the other, choice of the owner. Unfortunately most people don't do either one, it seems, because I see a lot of dogs with bad teeth. I choose the brushing route, although it is certainly more time consuming than feeding raw bones.

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I brush my dogs teeth every single night. My bc mix still developed tartar. So brushing isn't always enough.

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I brush my dogs teeth every single night. My bc mix still developed tartar. So brushing isn't always enough.

Hmmm. It may be what compound you were using to do the brushing, or possibly how you were doing it. I do swear by the Oratene. Some "doggy toothpaste" really has nothing good in it to keep tartar or plaque at bay and really won't help. Then there's how well you examine the teeth while you are doing it....as I said, I use an optivisor. Although just brushing without close examination would presumably do some good, you would probably not see plaque building up on back teeth. Then there is scaling with a dental tool when something does start to build in a little crevasse, and also making sure that you get the insides of the teeth and not just the outsides. If one does all of that I would think that it is impossible for plaque or tartar to build up on the teeth. At least, I will say that when I have been doing all of that that there is zero buildup. I don't do it every single day, but three or four times a week, and always catch it before anything has a chance to build.

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Hmmm. It may be what compound you were using to do the brushing, or possibly how you were doing it. I do swear by the Oratene. Some "doggy toothpaste" really has nothing good in it to keep tartar or plaque at bay and really won't help. Then there's how well you examine the teeth while you are doing it....as I said, I use an optivisor. Although just brushing without close examination would presumably do some good, you would probably not see plaque building up on back teeth. Then there is scaling with a dental tool when something does start to build in a little crevasse, and also making sure that you get the insides of the teeth and not just the outsides. If one does all of that I would think that it is impossible for plaque or tartar to build up on the teeth. At least, I will say that when I have been doing all of that that there is zero buildup. I don't do it every single day, but three or four times a week, and always catch it before anything has a chance to build.

I use arm and hammar for dogs, then a dental treat, followed up by dog tooth gel every single night. From what the vet tells me, just like people, some dogs just don't have the best of luck with teeth genetically. I brush each dogs teeth for a full minute and a half. My Goldens teeth are phenomenal. My bc mix, not so much. However, there is zero tartar at the gumline.

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Certainly true that teeth are determined by genetics just like everything else. My Jester's teeth started wearing down when he was only 6 or 7 years old. By the time he died at 15 he really no longer had teeth at all...just nubs. He never had a tennis ball in his life. He ate the same food all my other dogs did and played with the same toys and none of my dogs in my life have ever had their teeth wear down like that. So I figured it had to be genetic. some people get cavities no matter what they do, others can neglect their teeth and never get one. So it goes.

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In one of the recent threads where we've talked about tooth care and dogs getting edible bones for keeping teeth clean, I'd mentioned that my 4 1/2 year old raw fed dog had a tiny bit of plaque on her canines.

 

For reasons beyond my control, my dogs have been mostly getting chicken legs for the past couple weeks as their primary diet, which is a little more bone than I normally feed. A friend just posted a picture of her 12 y.o. raw fed dog's beautiful teeth so of course I had to look at mine to see haw they compared. Tansy's teeth are perfectly clean right up to the gum line, and so are 11. 12 - 13 year old Bodhi's. Neither have ever had their teeth cleaned by a veterinarian. B)

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