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My Dog Broke a Tooth - Does he need to see the vet?

Started 1334538344.913 in Pet Lovers | Last reply 1335651944.227 by BonnieBelle

Hi Everyone -

I just noticed today that my little guy broke a tooth. I assume it was fairly recently because he was to the vet for a check up in February and the vet looked at his teeth and didn't say anything. It's one of his top teeth, a few from the middle. It's not red or inflamed at the gum, it appears to have just broken straight across horizontally. Only a little bit of the tooth is left outside of the gum. Has anyone experienced this with their dog? If so, do I need to address it with the vet or can it just be left alone? He's only 4 years old - I guess he bit down on something outside? If anyone can offer any advice, I'd appreciate it. Be well.

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Sammycat11334539278.919579 PostsRegistered 9/30/2005

Definitely do not leave it alone -- food/bacteria can get down into the tooth, infect the pulp/roots, cause pain, etc. Your vet should examine it. Especially if it's a canine tooth--the roots for those are very long and difficult to deal with if they get infected.

He may want to extract it, but your pup is young and will heal in no time. Better to get it handled before it becomes a misery for your dog.

Yes, we went through this with our dog. We just had it pulled and he had no problems.

CamilleP1334549847.4933362 PostsRegistered 8/1/2007Oregon

With one of the carnassial teeth broken that close to the gumline, I guarantee the pulp is exposed, and your dog will have an abscess very soon. Make a vet appointment as soon as possible, this will not be okay left alone. Dogs are very good at hiding pain, but that doesn't mean they aren't hurting, it just means that you don't know they're sick until they're on death's doorstep. Since your dog is so young, odds are he'll come through the extraction with flying colors.

LuvMyBoyz1334579115.903591 PostsRegistered 11/18/2009

Thank you so much for your replies, Sammy and Camille. I tend to agree with you and from what I've researched, it sounds like it's something that needs to be addressed. I just got off the phone with my vet and he said that it doesn't need to be looked at unless it looks inflamed or red or seems to be causing him discomfort. I'm so confused. I take such good care of my pup and will be devastated if it ends up causing a problem. What to do?

Sammycat11334586124.2339579 PostsRegistered 9/30/2005
On 4/16/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

Thank you so much for your replies, Sammy and Camille. I tend to agree with you and from what I've researched, it sounds like it's something that needs to be addressed. I just got off the phone with my vet and he said that it doesn't need to be looked at unless it looks inflamed or red or seems to be causing him discomfort. I'm so confused. I take such good care of my pup and will be devastated if it ends up causing a problem. What to do?

I'm astonished that your vet made a diagnosis over the phone without even seeing your dog or inspecting the tooth; you're not a vet, how are you supposed to know it's truly a problem? Any broken tooth is an issue in any being, human or otherwise.

It IS something that needs to be addressed. There can be a lot going on under the gumline and just "a look" at the gums by anyone isn't enough (and frankly, if that's all your vet is doing, you need another vet!)

I don't understand--what's the dilemma? Make an appointment and take him in for a closer look. This is a problem that can deteriorate fast, cause great pain and cost more money if you wait.

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Last edited on 4/16/2012

LuvMyBoyz1334592574.617591 PostsRegistered 11/18/2009

I suppose the dilemma is that my vet told me over the phone what to do - then do I bring him in to the office and pay him $60 to tell me the same exact thing...

Sammycat11334598571.1839579 PostsRegistered 9/30/2005
On 4/16/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

I suppose the dilemma is that my vet told me over the phone what to do - then do I bring him in to the office and pay him $60 to tell me the same exact thing...

He may, but he may not. Again, I'm astonished that he's making a call without seeing your dog; it's irresponsible, frankly. That's what he's for -- to examine him. And properly. (If he just opens his mouth and looks in, you've got the wrong vet.)

$60 is nothing if he finds a problem that's starting and he treats it before it gets out of hand. Plus your dog is likely in pain at this point from the break itself -- teeth have roots/nerves in them and a break is not a small matter. Once this thing gets worse -- and they almost always do in those upper front teeth -- you're looking at a lot more money.

theBabe1334602889.707917 PostsRegistered 6/16/2010the USA
On 4/16/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

I suppose the dilemma is that my vet told me over the phone what to do - then do I bring him in to the office and pay him $60 to tell me the same exact thing...

My vet would always want to see something like that, rather than take my word for it over the phone. I think I'd be looking for a more responsible vet.

LuvMyBoyz1334617470.427591 PostsRegistered 11/18/2009

It's so hard to read tone over the Internet - I feel like I'm under attack! I hope I'm not coming off as an irresponsible dog owner. I'm the polar opposite and would do anything for my dogs. I found my doctor's approach different as well, but not being a professional vet, I didn't know if maybe that was the norm. He has a fantastic reputation and has been in practice for years, so you can understand how I would put my faith in him. In this case, however, perhaps a second opinion is in order.

Sammycat11334622341.3779579 PostsRegistered 9/30/2005
On 4/16/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

It's so hard to read tone over the Internet - I feel like I'm under attack! I hope I'm not coming off as an irresponsible dog owner. I'm the polar opposite and would do anything for my dogs. I found my doctor's approach different as well, but not being a professional vet, I didn't know if maybe that was the norm. He has a fantastic reputation and has been in practice for years, so you can understand how I would put my faith in him. In this case, however, perhaps a second opinion is in order.

Not attacking, just shocked that there's any doubt or hesitation that he needs to be seen once you had the opportunity to research the situation and ask other dog owners. It's an inexpensive appointment to set your mind at ease about your dog's health. Maybe the appointment should be with a second-opinion vet.

A fantastic vet in practice for years would not diagnose a new situation or condition in a pet over the phone. He could have his license taken away for that kind of practice. You don't need to be a professional vet to know that his approach to this is more than unusual--it's unethical. (We have a veterinarian in our family--that's why I'm writing this).

Best of luck with your pup and hope he doesn't develop any more problems with his tooth. Of course it is your decision on how to handle it.

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Last edited on 4/16/2012

Cheryl A S­ophie1334627809.327947 PostsRegistered 10/20/2007
I was also going to say head to vet, tomorrow as probably too late and after hours now. All teeth have nerves in the pulp of the tooth. Surprised as you and others are at phone diagnosis. Not sure if I would look for second opinion or persist with office visit there. Uncle's German Shepherd broke one of the front teeth when young, as she was trained in puppy matches for fun, it was easy peasy to show vet, and she was able to inspect tooth which was removed the same day.

Ban the Deed not the Breed.
Spay and Neuter your pet

JLLH3581334634174.7875028 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 4/16/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

It's so hard to read tone over the Internet - I feel like I'm under attack! I hope I'm not coming off as an irresponsible dog owner. I'm the polar opposite and would do anything for my dogs. I found my doctor's approach different as well, but not being a professional vet, I didn't know if maybe that was the norm. He has a fantastic reputation and has been in practice for years, so you can understand how I would put my faith in him. In this case, however, perhaps a second opinion is in order.

Hi, LuvMyBoyz, I think getting a second opinion from a different vet is a great idea. I wouldn't hesitate to do so and would strongly encourage you to follow that line of action. Few domesticated animals have perfectly healthy mouths (the reasons begin with diet, but that's a story for another day!) and this could quickly become a big issue for your baby. Coupled with the fact that animals are PROS when it comes to being stoical in the face of great pain and you may never know that your baby's in pain - until he has a roaring infection and begins to bleed or some other issue (ceasing to eat, for example) brings it to your attention. I would get a second opinion were he mine. Best Wishes on this and please let us know how your baby is doing! {#emotions_dlg.thumbup}

LuvMyBoyz1334674300.76591 PostsRegistered 11/18/2009

Thanks for the replies, Ladies! I just made an appointment for tomorrow at a NEW vet for my little guy. I pray that he doesn't need root canal or extraction. Not only do I not want him to have to go through a procedure, but the thought of the cost has me nervous. Please think good thoughts, and thank you again for your advice. Be well. xo

Sammycat11334682000.7179579 PostsRegistered 9/30/2005
On 4/17/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

Thanks for the replies, Ladies! I just made an appointment for tomorrow at a NEW vet for my little guy. I pray that he doesn't need root canal or extraction. Not only do I not want him to have to go through a procedure, but the thought of the cost has me nervous. Please think good thoughts, and thank you again for your advice. Be well. xo

Good luck for your baby -- even if he does need an extraction, look at it this way: you're preventing pain for him but also greater pain for your wallet if this gets infected and turns into a bigger medical nightmare.

Best of luck for your beloved pup tomorrow and let us know how it turns out!

LuvMyBoyz1334683959.21591 PostsRegistered 11/18/2009

Thank you for the post, Sammy. I appreciate the well wishes and hope it's something that can be easily remedied. I'd do anything for my little guy - I just pray he can be spared another procedure, no matter how minor :) I'll keep you posted.

CamilleP1334685371.6233362 PostsRegistered 8/1/2007Oregon

I'm very glad to hear you are seeing a different vet, that tooth will very likely need to come out, but your dog is young, it will be a very quick procedure, and it will prevent any future complications or worse problems. There are many things you can investigate to help you pay for the procedure if you need help, many vets today offer options through payment plans that advertise right in office, so I urge you to look into those if you need them, and get the tooth dealt with asap, so your baby isn't hurting any more.

JLLH3581334707086.6075028 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 4/17/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

Thanks for the replies, Ladies! I just made an appointment for tomorrow at a NEW vet for my little guy. I pray that he doesn't need root canal or extraction. Not only do I not want him to have to go through a procedure, but the thought of the cost has me nervous. Please think good thoughts, and thank you again for your advice. Be well. xo

{#emotions_dlg.thumbup} You might want to look into CareCredit. It allows interest-free payments for such things and many vets accept it (as they would a credit card). We are fortunate in that pretty much every vet in our city accepts it. I hope this helps. Best Wishes and please do let us know how your baby is doing. Teeth problems can be the source of many more serious illnesses and health problems, so you are definitely doing the right thing by having him looked at!

LuvMyBoyz1334793768.747591 PostsRegistered 11/18/2009

UPDATE: I just got back from the vet with my little guy and he needs to have his tooth removed {#emotions_dlg.sad}. The root is exposed and even though he isn't currently in pain, the vet said he can guarantee that it will eventually cause a problem if not removed (abscess, infection, etc...). If there is a 'good' to this it's that he has some tartar built up on his teeth and he would need them cleaned within the next few years anyway, so they'll just do that at the same time of the extraction. He goes in on Monday morning and should be good as new in the afternoon. I just feel bad for the little guy. He is so scared of the vet. I want to thank you all for your advice. I'm so glad I got another opinion and believe I've found our new vet. I appreciate your help - if not for you ladies, I may have just listened to my vet's diagnosis over the phone. Thank you - and PLEASE think good thoughts for my baby and that the procedure is a piece of cake.{#emotions_dlg.thumbup} Be well. xo

Sammycat11334794087.1579579 PostsRegistered 9/30/2005
On 4/18/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

UPDATE: I just got back from the vet with my little guy and he needs to have his tooth removed {#emotions_dlg.sad}. The root is exposed and even though he isn't currently in pain, the vet said he can guarantee that it will eventually cause a problem if not removed (abscess, infection, etc...). If there is a 'good' to this it's that he has some tartar built up on his teeth and he would need them cleaned within the next few years anyway, so they'll just do that at the same time of the extraction. He goes in on Monday morning and should be good as new in the afternoon. I just feel bad for the little guy. He is so scared of the vet. I want to thank you all for your advice. I'm so glad I got another opinion and believe I've found our new vet. I appreciate your help - if not for you ladies, I may have just listened to my vet's diagnosis over the phone. Thank you - and PLEASE think good thoughts for my baby and that the procedure is a piece of cake.{#emotions_dlg.thumbup} Be well. xo

Although you are nervous about Monday -- and it will go WELL! Keep thinking positively -- think of what you spared your beloved pup. I'm so relieved you got a top-notch opinion from someone who knows what he is doing!

We will say prayers for a breeze of a procedure on Monday and prayers for a rapid recovery. We've had this done in our dogs in the past and it was OK. That's small comfort to you now, I now, but think of the pain or worse illness that has been prevented for your fuzzy one because you acted decisively.

What is your dog's name so we can say prayers specifically for him?

LuvMyBoyz1334794474.27591 PostsRegistered 11/18/2009

Hi Sammy-

Thank you so much for your kind words. I actually feel better now that we know the situation and have a solution set in place. The not knowing has been unnerving the past few days. I know he will be ok - I'm so glad I took him to be seen. I don't want to even think of what might have happened down the road. I'm very much looking forward to Monday evening when it's all over and he is resting comfortably at home.

My baby's name is Blaze. Please say prayers for him! I appreciate the good thoughts! Thanks again. xo

JLLH3581334799072.2875028 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 4/18/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

Hi Sammy-

Thank you so much for your kind words. I actually feel better now that we know the situation and have a solution set in place. The not knowing has been unnerving the past few days. I know he will be ok - I'm so glad I took him to be seen. I don't want to even think of what might have happened down the road. I'm very much looking forward to Monday evening when it's all over and he is resting comfortably at home.

My baby's name is Blaze. Please say prayers for him! I appreciate the good thoughts! Thanks again. xo

I will pray for Blaze and for you. I'm so glad you got that second opinion!! Kudos to you for knowing something was not right and pursuing it despite your first vet's nonchalance about the situation. Don't forget to have your new vet request your files from your old one so your baby doesn't have to have duplicate shots! Everything will go well on Monday, I'm sure. Post back when you're all back home and tucked in!! Best to you and your baby!

Sammycat11334807646.8739579 PostsRegistered 9/30/2005
On 4/18/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

Hi Sammy-

Thank you so much for your kind words. I actually feel better now that we know the situation and have a solution set in place. The not knowing has been unnerving the past few days. I know he will be ok - I'm so glad I took him to be seen. I don't want to even think of what might have happened down the road. I'm very much looking forward to Monday evening when it's all over and he is resting comfortably at home.

My baby's name is Blaze. Please say prayers for him! I appreciate the good thoughts! Thanks again. xo

What a great name! Blaze is on the prayer list and we hope to hear Monday evening that he's all snug as a bug at home with you with this hurdle behind him!

LuvMyBoyz1334845744.113591 PostsRegistered 11/18/2009

Thanks so much for the prayers, JLLH and Sammy! I will post back on Monday when Blaze is back home with his family. I am very grateful to have caught this early{#emotions_dlg.biggrin}. Thank you for your help! Be well. xo

ScarletK1334856828.093662 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

I'm waiting for Monday eve's report too!!

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened." Anatole France

LuvMyBoyz1335182879.65591 PostsRegistered 11/18/2009

Think good thoughts for my baby today! He was just dropped off at the vet for his extraction and teeth cleaning. I know it's a minor procedure, but I can't help but worry. I hope he isn't too stressed there today. Very much looking forward to this evening when he is back home with his family.Smile

JLLH3581335186130.895028 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 4/23/2012 LuvMyBoyz said:

Think good thoughts for my baby today! He was just dropped off at the vet for his extraction and teeth cleaning. I know it's a minor procedure, but I can't help but worry. I hope he isn't too stressed there today. Very much looking forward to this evening when he is back home with his family.Smile

Will do! {#emotions_dlg.thumbup} Keep us posted on how everything goes when you get him home tonight!

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