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If I had access to a dentist, I would definitely choose the dentist over the vet. However, there are not a lot of dog dentists so it could be difficult to find one.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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Are there dog dentists? Or does your vet do cleanings?
There ARE dog dentists, but I use my regular vet for cleanings. They are VERY thorough there, and are also more minimalistic in terms of not feeling the need to clean teeth TOO often. I also trust them to refer me if there is a problem they can't handle. They are also perfectly capable of handling extractions of deciduous (baby) teeth when necessary.

This may not be true of ALL dog dentists, but the two main ones in our area are MUCH more expensive than the regular vet. They also tend to be a hammer looking for a nail, if you know what I mean.

OTOH, I know of a puppy who had a strange overgrowth of gum material that was not allowing his teeth to grow through. That was beyond the expertise of the local vets. He was referred to the vet dentists and needed two procedures, correctly timed, one for his baby teeth, then again when his adult teeth were erupting, to allow for the proper development of his teeth. I can't remember the name of the condition now, but it is rare but not unknown. But BECAUSE the vet dentists are experts, they knewEXACTLY what to do to help him, and he has a completely normal adult mouth! So for some things, there is no doubt that a vet dentist is the way to go!
 
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Owned by a Havallon
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I agree that many regular vets can be great at normal cleanings and extractions. However, all vets are not created equal. A couple of things that I feel are important are dental X-rays and monitoring during anesthesia. A separate person should be monitoring the anesthesia for example and ideally they have up to date monitoring techniques. Both of these become critical should a problem arise under anesthesia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! 2 baby teeth need pulling. And I thought I should get a cleaning, while the vet is in there and Boo is “under”. One thing I’m a little concerned about is that twice I’ve been asked if I want him neutered at the same time. I’ve said “no” and at a dentist they won’t “accidentally” neuter him at the same time. So got me wondering about whether there is such a thing as dog dentists.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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Thank you! 2 baby teeth need pulling. And I thought I should get a cleaning, while the vet is in there and Boo is “under”. One thing I’m a little concerned about is that twice I’ve been asked if I want him neutered at the same time. I’ve said “no” and at a dentist they won’t “accidentally” neuter him at the same time. So got me wondering about whether there is such a thing as dog dentists.
LOL! They won't "accidentally" neuter him while he is under! ...Or if they DO, they have a law suit on their hands! But if he still has baby teeth, he is MUCH too young to have his teeth professionally cleaned. As soon as you have them professionally cleaned, you have removed the top layer of dentin, and will HAVE to do it regularly, from then on. That should not be done now, unless there is a real problem. You should be brushing his teeth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh. Good you pointed that out. I won’t go it. I do brush his teeth “regularly” but his gums bleed so I thought perhaps he might need cleaning around his gum for tarter removal. But it’s because I don’t brush often enough. He bites. And btw, with my son born 29 years ago, I don’t remember how many times I was asked and reasked if I wanted him circumcised. His father is Danish and that’s not a thing there and “like father, like son” so my answer was always “no”. I really feared the nurses and doctors would miss that note!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
LOL! They won't "accidentally" neuter him while he is under! ...Or if they DO, they have a law suit on their hands! But if he still has baby teeth, he is MUCH too young to have his teeth professionally cleaned. As soon as you have them professionally cleaned, you have removed the top layer of dentin, and will HAVE to do it regularly, from then on. That should not be done now, unless there is a real problem. You should be brushing his teeth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Vet tech just told me they will do a quick polish only since he is so young. Do you think that is ok? Or will that remove the top layer of dentin?
 

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I brush Scout and Truffles teeth daily. About every two years I"ve taken them to a dental practice to have their teeth cleaned. Even being very careful with their dental hygiene there have been some problems which would have been missed if x-rays were not done. Scout and Truffles needed to have their last two molars extracted due to a crack in a tooth with an abscess. Truffles has tiny teeth and also has had a front upper and lower needing to be extracted. That was totally unexpected on exam before her cleaning. It was very visible on the x-ray. She also had a growth that was removed. Scout has a molar with roots that grew into the jaw bone. If something happened to that tooth and it was just pulled it could possibly break his jaw. Doggie dentists scale the plaque and tartar below the gumline to help prevent gum disease and tooth loss. Enamel helps to protect the dentin below during cleanings. Here an x-ray which shows Scout's roots embedded in the jaw bone.
Jaw Font Service Tooth Radiology
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I cannot get an appointment for extraction until January. Maybe the baby canines will come out on their own? But I do need to brush teeth more often. Thank you for all of your insights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
He’s 11 months old today! I saw a vet for another reason not at my practice and the vet told me he needed them pulled. They are not loose but don’t look or feel like they are impeding any growth of adult teeth. She said it could wait awhile but they needed to come out. I did not ask why. Mistake.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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Oh. Good you pointed that out. I won’t go it. I do brush his teeth “regularly” but his gums bleed so I thought perhaps he might need cleaning around his gum for tarter removal. But it’s because I don’t brush often enough. He bites. And btw, with my son born 29 years ago, I don’t remember how many times I was asked and reasked if I wanted him circumcised. His father is Danish and that’s not a thing there and “like father, like son” so my answer was always “no”. I really feared the nurses and doctors would miss that note!
LOL! Just keep reminding them! (And tell them that little story! ;) THAT will stick in their minds! )
 

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Metrowest, MA
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He’s 11 months old today! I saw a vet for another reason not at my practice and the vet told me he needed them pulled. They are not loose but don’t look or feel like they are impeding any growth of adult teeth. She said it could wait awhile but they needed to come out. I did not ask why. Mistake.

If they are not impeding the growth of other teeth or looking like they will cause misalignment, you can afford to wait a bit, but not TOO long, at 11 months.
 

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My 7 year old Sophie just needed her first dental April 1 and I was extra concerned due to her IBD so consulted with a dental specialist to see if there was anything they can do that would be safer for her than our regular vet. I was told the only benefit is if it were something out of the ordinary, and that a good regular vet would be as good plus a ton cheaper (I paid about $1500 including blood draw, fully body x rays, nails, anal glands, ears, etc, I did everything while under to minimize stress for her) the specialist would have been well over $3K. If just a cleaning the regular vet can do as good of a job so we went with that.

Most dogs do just fine but with Sophie, the stress, antibiotic injection (which I didn't want as thankfully her teeth were all very healthy just tartar build up) and anesthesia did set her gut off and 3.5 months later we're still struggling with loose stool etc. If you are getting bleeding around the gums while brushing you may want to try a softer tooth brush if you aren't already I use a very soft infant toothbrush but also have three other variety of brushes with differing hardness and size to get all the areas in her little mouth. I'm guessing you can use tooth paste also which Sophie can't which will help a lot. I agree with Karen to wait a bit but not too long with the retained baby teeth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Final question re puppy canine teeth. If there is no spacing issue, do they need to come out? Can a dog just keep his puppy teeth? Will they rot if not removed? Or something else bad?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My 7 year old Sophie just needed her first dental April 1 and I was extra concerned due to her IBD so consulted with a dental specialist to see if there was anything they can do that would be safer for her than our regular vet. I was told the only benefit is if it were something out of the ordinary, and that a good regular vet would be as good plus a ton cheaper (I paid about $1500 including blood draw, fully body x rays, nails, anal glands, ears, etc, I did everything while under to minimize stress for her) the specialist would have been well over $3K. If just a cleaning the regular vet can do as good of a job so we went with that.

Most dogs do just fine but with Sophie, the stress, antibiotic injection (which I didn't want as thankfully her teeth were all very healthy just tartar build up) and anesthesia did set her gut off and 3.5 months later we're still struggling with loose stool etc. If you are getting bleeding around the gums while brushing you may want to try a softer tooth brush if you aren't already I use a very soft infant toothbrush but also have three other variety of brushes with differing hardness and size to get all the areas in her little mouth. I'm guessing you can use tooth paste also which Sophie can't which will help a lot. I agree with Karen to wait a bit but not too long with the retained baby teeth.
 

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This is a question for your vet or veterinary dentist. I cannot imagine how a dog with ordinary dentition and a normal bite could possibly have room in their mouth for both baby teeth and adult teeth. One set replaces the other.
 
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