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What You Need to Know About Dog Teeth Removal

Close up of dogs teeth

Most of the canine dental problems can be solved by ensuring the proper cleaning of your dog’s mouth. However, your vet may suggest a dog tooth extraction if all the other treatments fail to cure the problem. The primary goal of this treatment is to ensure your pet’s wellbeing in the long run. Read on to know more about the process of dog tooth removal and some of its possible complications.   

What is Dog Tooth Extraction?

Dog tooth removal is a process in which a canine’s entire tooth (crown and roots) is extracted from his/her mouth. In this procedure, the dog is given general anesthesia and a thorough assessment is done through ultrasound imaging. This helps the veterinarian surgeon to understand the particular jaw and identify the right plan of action.

The teeth of a dog can have multiple roots (up to 3) and all the roots should be removed to complete an efficient dog tooth extraction. Smaller teeth have only one root and can be extracted, conveniently. Contrastingly, a larger tooth has to be split so that each of its fragments has only one root.

The vet uses specialized instruments to dislodge each root from the jaw bone. He/she may also make an incision along the base of the gums to break down the connecting ligaments. Once it is done, the tooth (and the roots) can be pulled out. If the gum was cut for the extraction, it will be sutured to complete the procedure.          

Dog Tooth Extraction Complications

dog on surgical table with human gloved hand on its head

Dog teeth removals are generally pretty straightforward, but they can develop some complications in certain cases. For example, excessive use of force before elevating the tooth can lead to a root fracture. Some of the most common complications of dog tooth extraction are discussed below.

Excessive Bleeding

It happens when a blood vessel is damaged during the removal process. The most obvious place to bleed profusely is the site of extraction. This bleeding is normally controlled by applying direct pressure with a moist gauze sponge.

In addition to that, several other areas can also suffer a hemorrhage during dog teeth removal. For instance, the vascular structures in the nasal cavity or mandibular canal can be damaged. If that’s the case, direct ligation is not a feasible option. Therefore, you have to use other techniques, like the application of a hemostatic agent.

Fractured Roots

Removed dog tooth with tooth pulling tool on white cloth

This is probably the most common complication of dog teeth removal because many different factors can lead to root fractures. For example, the anatomic variations in the root structure can fracture the bone during extraction. Likewise, the use of extraction forceps before lifting the tooth properly can also fracture the root.

If a tooth root breaks during a dental surgery, you will mostly need an additional surgery to extract the tip. A vet rarely decides to leave the broken tip of the root in its place. This is because it poses a wide range of risks, including endodontic disease and stomatitis. Even if the root tip is left inside the jaw, intraoral radiographs are performed to document its remaining structure.  

Damage to Adjacent Teeth

Close up of dogs teeth with cavities near the roots

It is quite logical to assume that the teeth adjacent to the diseased tooth can be damaged during this procedure. They can be affected at all stages of the dog tooth extraction. Whether the vet is sectioning or elevating the unhealthy tooth, the neighboring teeth are always in danger of being damaged. If any adjacent tooth is affected, radiography will be needed to determine the extent of the damage.

Displacement of Broken Roots

This complication happens when a veterinarian surgeon is trying to remove a broken root tip. The fractured root can make its way into the nasal cavity, mandibular canal, or maxillary sinus. These cases are generally referred to a veterinary dentist because the removal of the displaced root is not an easy task. The soft tissues of the nasal cavity or mandibular canal can be easily damaged, and it will worsen the situation.

The best possible way to prevent the displacement of root tips is to remove the alveolar bone. This allows the vet to see the fractured root and he/she can remove it safely.   

Jaw Fractures

x-ray of a chihuahua

These fractures mostly occur during the removal of mandibular teeth (canine and the first molar). The positioning of these teeth requires intensive planning to ensure a flawless extraction. The use of excessive force by the vet or preexisting endodontic disease are the most common causes of jaw fractures.

Dog Tooth Removal Cost

Close up a pile of 100 dollar bills

According to Wag Walking, the cost of a dog tooth extraction can vary from $500-$800. It depends on different factors, such as the location of the dog and the complexity of the dog tooth removal. Therefore, you should always ask your vet for an estimate of the procedure because it is a very expensive treatment.

Is There Ever a Reason for Puppy Teeth Removal?

White puppy laying upside down in grass chewing a humans finger

A condition, called Retained Baby Teeth, may require your dog to go for a puppy teeth removal. In this problem, a permanent tooth erupts in a puppy’s mouth before the natural removal of the baby tooth in that place. This essentially means that there are two teeth in the same place at the same time. Therefore, puppy teeth removal will be needed to extract the persistent deciduous tooth (or teeth).

Retained baby teeth can lead to several oral problems, such as the abnormal positioning of the permanent teeth. Likewise, it can also result in accidental bites and an inability to eat without pain. Therefore, early recognition (and timely extraction) of a retained tooth is vital for your puppy’s health.   

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