the canine's incisor
August 30, 2012 10:13 AM   Subscribe

I have an older dog whose front tooth is loose enough that I can wiggle it with my fingers. I'm taking him into the vet tomorrow, but before I do, I'm wondering: is it possible for the vet to remove a dog's tooth without putting him under anesthesia?
posted by roger ackroyd to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
Sure. He might just use a local and not put him under same as with humans.

But it depends on the dog's temperment. If he's sensitive to anyone being around and in his mouth, they may put him under for their safety.
posted by inturnaround at 10:15 AM on August 30, 2012

Possible, yes, but you'd probably have trouble finding one willing to. Most dogs react really badly to strangers causing their mouth pain. It could be dangerous to the vet, and emotionally scarring to the dog.
posted by chundo at 10:16 AM on August 30, 2012

Response by poster: This dog is the mellowest. He also weighs in just under 10lbs.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:17 AM on August 30, 2012

It's possible, but it's not kind. Extracting the tooth will likely be painful, and pulling a tooth without anesthesia can cause your dog considerable distress.

Additionally, it is important that the tooth be extracted along with its root. If the root is not removed at the same time as the tooth, a terrible infection with a great deal of pain may result.

The gold standard for dental work in pets includes dental x-rays both before and after, especially if extractions are required for the reasons I mentioned above. Anesthesia is needed for dental x-rays, and especially to make sure that your little man does not experience pain or distress during the procedure.
posted by Seppaku at 10:43 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

The fact that it is a small dog makes this less likely. When you have such limited space to work with in the mouth, this becomes FAR more difficult. Getting a good dental radiograph with an awake dog is very very challenging, and is often a bigger part of the puzzle than holding the dog still.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 10:44 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

No repeutable veteriarian I know would perform this procedure on a dog who was not under general anesthesia. It's unsafe for both the veteriarinarian and veterinary technicians and the patient.

Two major reasons this is a bad idea:

1) Sedated dogs can bite. Mellow dog at home does not equal mellow dog with a bunch of strangers all up in his biz making him ouchy.

2) Dental tools are sharp. Very sharp. A sedated dog is capable of moving around during the procedure. Sharp mental instruments + inflammed flesh + sudden movements = bad idea.

Your vet is going to need to determine why your dog's tooth is loose. Is it dental disease? Was it from an injury? If it was an injury, what's the condition of the broken (tooth? What is the condition of the root? An exam needs to be done to determine this. For the two reasons above a good dental exam can't be done on a sedated dog. General anesthesia is needed.

High-Quality Dental Cleanings for Animals Simply Not Possible Without Anesthesia By Tony M. Woodward, DVM, AVDC says it a lot better than I can.
posted by pupus at 10:55 AM on August 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

(two of MANY major reasons)
posted by pupus at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2012

Mellow isn't really the issue, I mean a person is going to have their hand and sharp tools in the dog's mouth and then cause them pain in said mouth. I can assure you that the only way that dog isn't going to try and bite down all kinds of fast and hard is if they are unconscious. Now, there will be something to prevent the mouth from closing, so now your dog is in pain, in their mouth, and can't do the one thing they really really want to do so now the dog is extra stressed out.

Vets don't just put dogs under for their convenience, the dog isn't capable of understanding what is going on, they aren't capable of knowing that this thing is going to hurt, but just for a second so hold still. This is INCREDIBLY stressful for the dog.
posted by magnetsphere at 10:59 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, guys. When I first rescued the little dude three years ago, he had to have a bunch of teeth pulled and the anesthesia was pretty traumatic. But this is a new vet with a great reputation, so hopefully we can minimize any problems.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:06 AM on August 30, 2012

We recently had our mellow, 13-pound little guy's teeth cleaned and the vet insisted on putting him under for the procedure. I was very freaked out the entire time and hung out white-knuckled by the phone until they called me to pick him up. If you're anxious about the procedure itself, find an empathetic vet who will answer all your neurotic questions, like mine did. If it's the cost, that is totally understandable. My vet is reasonably priced and it was still around $500 for the anesthetic and the procedure itself. Perhaps you can find a vet who'd be willing to work with you on price?
posted by Lieber Frau at 11:09 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

No, Canine teeth will not pull out downwards. My dog had to have 1 removed as it was cracked in half and the only way was to remove part of the bone surrounding the teeth because of the shape of the tooth and size of the root. See here scroll down the page a little. Removing a canine is unfortunately not easy or cheap.
posted by wwax at 1:38 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

What pupus said, plus: proper dental extractions are surgery, gum flaps are made and reflected, the tooth is removed, sutures are's not just a yank it out sort of thing. In addition to this, your dog should have full mouth x-rays done (at very least the extracted tooth should be x-rayed, ideally both before and after extraction) and a proper cleaning and probing to make sure there aren't any other problem teeth - it's not just the loose and yucky-looking ones that are a problem, dog teeth are like icebergs, there is a HUGE part of the tooth below the gumline that can have problems even if the crown looks perfect.

Tell the vet what the problems were last time, there are a LOT of different drugs they can use.

Lots of good info here.
posted by biscotti at 1:46 PM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yes, I came to say what biscotti mentioned about informing the vet re: anesthesia problems last time. It really helps vets to better help your pet if they know this kind of stuff.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:48 AM on August 31, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks again, everyone. The little dude is with the vet right now, getting teeth removed today.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:30 AM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Spotify controls in the iPhone tray?   |   Flap and Jacket Copywriting Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.