The Pain of Dog Tooth Extraction Cost
When you see your dog gnawing on a hard bone or tearing through a rawhide, it’s easy to imagine that his teeth are unbreakable. Those teeth may seem like they are capable of gnawing through anything without repercussions, but that is far from the case. Accidents happen and your pooch won’t exactly be conscious of which items are beyond the power of his jaw.
That’s right, broken teeth are not exactly uncommon in dogs and they can happen at any age. Typically, they tend to happen when you least expect it, so it’s wise to have a sense of what to do in advance. Obviously, you’ll want to get to your veterinarian immediately. This is NOT a problem that you can handle yourself. However, it’s worth knowing what that will entail. If your dog has a broken tooth, extraction is the primary treatment. Broken teeth aren’t the only time that you’re dog may need to have a tooth extracted ever. Doggo tooth extractions may also be necessary in cases of cavities, tooth decay, and severe infection. Sadly, this is all too common.
As you have probably guessed, tooth extraction for dogs is neither a pleasant or inexpensive procedure. This is not exactly a process that your pooch will enjoy, but it is an absolute necessity and something that you’ll need to take care of right away. If you fail to take care of the problem promptly, it could make matters worse for your dog. There are nasty infections and all sorts of other problems that could arise without that tooth being pulled out immediately. Keep reading to learn the basics about tooth extractions in dogs including the costs and what to expect from the process.
What is Involved in Dog Tooth Extraction?
If your dog has a broken tooth, you may not even know it until your next vet appointment or dental exam. While humans can’t exactly ignore a broken, that’s not true of dogs. Many dogs show no signs at all when they are experiencing pain. Now, you may notice some tell tale signs such as drooling, pawing at the mouth, reluctance to eat, sneezing, swelling of the jaw, or bad breath if there is a problem with one or several of your dog’s teeth. But, it won’t exactly be obvious. That said, if you notice any of these signs, then it’s important take your dog to the vet right away for an examination to determine whether the pooch has a broken tooth in need of treatment.
If your veterinarian confirms that your dog has a broken tooth or any other dental problem that require a full tooth extraction, the best option is to use general anesthesia to put your dog under so your vet can get a closer look at the problem. It might seem worrying at first, but this is honestly the best way for you vet to get a good look and your dog’s teeth to assess the problem. Fully conscious dogs don’t exactly appreciate being man-handled, especially if the vet is trying to get a close look at a painful area. Once your dog is under, your vet can get up close to the fractured tooth to assess the level of damage. Depending how bad the fracture is, the tooth can be either treated or removed. The three most common treatment methods are as follows:
- Tooth extraction
- Pulp capping
- Root canal therapy
While dental surgery is more common that full tooth removal in humans, that’s not exactly the case with dogs. After all, there aren’t specialty doggy dentists and the average pooch isn’t exactly careful about their dental health. If the pulp of the tooth is compromised, extraction is the best treatment because the tooth will eventually develop an abscess if left untreated. You don’t want that. That will lead to infection and potentially deadly side effects. Fortunately, extraction is a fairly quick and straightforward treatment and most dogs recover well. It’s not pleasant in the moment, but it will make your dog’s life so much better in the longterm.
Why Does it Cost so Much?
Although tooth extraction is a simple enough procedure, it can be quite costly (you may have noticed that this is a bit of a trend with veterinary costs). The price per tooth ranges from $500 to $800, depending on your dog’s health and the complexity of the tooth removal. There are several reasons why these costs are so high. First and foremost, your dog will need to go under general anesthesia for both the initial exam and for the procedure. That costs money, but it’s very much a necessity. Your veterinarian needs total access to the area to assess the level of damage and to perform the repair. As you can imagine, your dog is unlikely to tolerate this process while conscious. Other costs associated with tooth extraction include x-rays, antibiotics, and other treatments (unsurprisingly, none of these treatments are free). If your dog requires multiple extractions, additional procedures, or if the extraction is very difficult, you could be looking at costs over $2,000. This won’t be a cheap process, but it is an absolutely necessity for the sake of your dog’s longterm health.
What to Expect Before and After
Knowing what to expect before and after a tooth extraction is important so that you can keep your dog as comfortable as possible. Before the procedure, you can expect your vet to perform a thorough history as well as a physical exam and dental exam. If there is reason to suspect a broken tooth or cavity, your vet may put your dog under to complete a more thorough exam. From there, x-rays will likely be taken, and your vet may use them to determine the degree of damage as well as the proper course of action. If an extraction is needed, your dog may be treated with antibiotics to control the risk of infection. It will be quite a stressful appointment for both you and the pup.
After the procedure, your dog will need specialized care to ensure that he heals properly and to reduce the risk of infection. Your dog will need regular doses of pain killers and you’ll need to keep his mouth packed with gauze to control the bleeding. This won’t be a pleasant experience for you or your pet, so make sure to remind yourself how important it is in the long run or else it might start to feel overwhelming. Over the coming weeks, you’ll need to look for signs of infection or poor recovery such as wincing, bleeding, and facial swelling. Your veterinarian will likely recommend at least one follow-up to check in on your dog’s progress. All in all, your dog should be healed from the extraction in about four weeks. It will feel like it takes longer.
The reality of tooth extraction is that it is often an unpleasant necessary. We hate to put our dogs under anesthesia…the cost is often debilitating for us. We hate watching them recover and we hate them not knowing what’s going on or why they feel so horribly. But, we need to do it because dental health is so important to overall health. Just like in humans, the connection between oral hygiene and immunity is strong in our dogs, and they depend on us to make sure they’re as healthy as they can be.
That’s why it’s important to deal with the dental needs as quickly as you are able or you may find you’ll be dealing with even bigger and more unpleasant issues down the road. Your vet loves your dog and will guide you in the right choices and the least invasive procedures, but it’s something that you have to do for their own good. It’s tough to be a dog parent sometimes, we know, but our furry friends are worth it.
Recovery from the Procedure
The process of recovery after your dog’s tooth extraction will come in two phases. First, immediately following the extraction, your dog will be feeling pain and discomfort. This will likely result in lower activity levels and a decreased appetite. If you have ever had a tooth removed yourself, then you will understand what they are experiencing. If your dog doesn’t eat much for 48 to 72 hours, don’t worry, this is normal. After this period, you should start to see your dog returning to their normal selves once again.
As your dog starts to act normally, don’t take this for granted – the recovery process isn’t over yet. In the second stage of recovery your dog may be acting like its usual self, but the incision site isn’t fully healed yet. This will continue until approximately two weeks after the procedure. During this time, your veterinarian may recommend feeding your dog soft food or softened kibble and checking on the incision site regularly to ensure that there are no complications. Softening your dog’s kibble is easy, simply add some water to the bowl and allow it to sit as the kibble absorbs the moisture before giving it to your pup.
How to Prevent a Tooth Extraction
While a tooth extraction is a safe procedure when conducted by a veterinary professional, it is always better to focus on prevention where possible. In this case, making dental care part of your daily routine can have a significant impact on your dog’s health and happiness, while preventing the conditions that would warrant an extraction. This includes both prevention at home as well as with the assistance of your veterinarian.
The biggest thing that you can do for your dog at home is to introduce regular brushing of their teeth. Depending on how old your dog is and how open they are to allowing you to touch their mouth, this could be a fairly simple process, or it could be a significant challenge. Be patient as you introduce your dog to the toothbrush, don’t just jump into trying to brush right away. Instead, simply touch the toothbrush to the outside of their teeth or place a little bit of dog-specific toothpaste on it allowing your dog to lick it off and taste the flavor. As they become more comfortable, you can continue to push a small step at a time, slowly introducing the idea.
Some dogs will never tolerate the use of a toothbrush. While this isn’t ideal, there are other options available to you including the use of water additives, dental treats, dental chews, food additives, and dental toys among other products. In addition to your efforts to clean your dog’s teeth at home, you should make a full dental exam and cleaning part of your dog’s annual routine when visiting your veterinarian.
Another step that you can take to help prevent the need for a tooth extraction is to be cautious about what you are providing your dog to chew on. Products like hard bones, hooves, and antlers are popular due to how long they last, however, they are so hard that they can cause tooth breakage. Instead, stick with chew options that are slightly softer to prevent damage.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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