Chipped teeth

Discussion in 'Labrador health' started by Oberon, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Thanks, Lynne, that's so nice of you. He is a brave boy but I do wish that he was also a bit less accident prone ;D
     
  2. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    We had our consultation at the vet dentist this morning. All went well, and we have gotten to the bottom of the mystery. Essentially, Obi has a weakened band of enamel running through all of his teeth. The cause is most likely to have been a fever at about 16 weeks of age (when he was with his previous family). He's had all the weak spots sealed (except his very back molars which could not be fully reached) and he also has two white fillings in his canines. The chips in his canines were not so much chips as weak enamel that came off. The same thing had been repeated on other teeth (but I hadn't picked up on it).

    I'll write more about it when I'm home (on the road right now) and can look at the notes the vet wrote for us. It's all quite interesting!

    Obi did really well and is in good spirits :)
     
  3. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Sleeping it off on the journey home.

    url=http://flic.kr/p/fQvEV4][​IMG][/url]
     
  4. lynnelogan

    lynnelogan Registered Users

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    poor poor boy, ...is he in any pain ?
     
  5. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    No, not at the moment :) He's up to the eyeballs with opiates. Tonight it might feel a little tender but tomorrow he should be 100% fine. Before he had it all repaired today it would have been painful to have eaten or drunk cold things, the vet said :( But he will be feeling a lot more comfortable now that this has been done :D I'm just really glad that I noticed and did something about it. It was definitely something that needed attention.

    Awake, but a bit woozy:

    [​IMG]

    Special treats for this boy tomorrow, methinks.
     
  6. lynnelogan

    lynnelogan Registered Users

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    poor obi :(.......fingers crossed he is ok in the morning
     
  7. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Thanks for showing so much care, Lynne, it's really kind of you :) We're home now and Obi has had some dinner and is being reasonable perky. He should sleep well tonight and then be back to his normal self tomorrow :)

    I'll explain a bit more what was going with his teeth.

    The hard enamel layer on the outside of teeth is laid down while the teeth are still buried in the gums. The enamel is laid down by specialised cells (can't remember their name) that deposit enamel in horizontal bands. It's kind of like the horizontal layers of rock strata that you see when you look at an exposed cliff face. The enamel is laid down the same - it's put down layer by layer and the bands at the bottom are older than the bands at the top. The cells that lay down the enamel are very sensitive to any changes in conditions, such as an increase in core body temperature such as happens during a fever. When conditions are not to the cells' liking, they stop working, or put down poorer quality, softer enamel. During this period, a band of weaker or missing enamel will form. Once conditions are to the cells' liking again, the enamel building process continues as normal with proper, hard enamel.

    The horizontal bands are like the rock strata - you can almost date the time at which the abnormal development occurred. The vet estimates that when Obi was 3-4 months old he suffered from a brief illness that caused a fever, which led to a thin band of abnormal enamel like a ripple across all his teeth. On his canines and his '3rd lower molar' teeth (the smaller molar right at the back) the enamel in this band was especially weak and soft. The enamel has come off on these spots on his teeth - hence the weird symmetrical 'chips' on his canines. On his 3rd lower molars it's come off in a very noticeable strip - well, noticeable when a vet dentist shows you :) On his other teeth it's formed a little ridge that is not quite as hard as it should be but it's remained intact for now. The pattern is not evenly weak or hard because the rate of tooth development is not the same for each tooth type.

    So, this is what the vet has done. She has removed any remaining soft enamel from the worst affected teeth (canines and 3rd molars) and has sealed the sensitive dentine layer underneath. That will stop any pain and will also prevent bacteria from getting in. She has filled the holes in his canines, the same as a human filling. She wasn't able to fill the spaces on his 3rd molars (too much enamel was missing..), but they are sealed. I said in an earlier post that these molars weren't sealed, but I got that wrong - they just weren't filled. The filling is cosmetic though and it's the sealing that is the important bit. We still have to watch his molars though as more enamel may come off and he may need tooth extraction later.

    We have instructions for no heavy bones and regular brushing and teeth monitoring. Soft, meaty bones like chicken carcases, duck carcases, rabbit pieces or whole fish are ok. I asked the vet her view on brushing and bones and she basically said this:
    - There is a reason why dentists get us humans to clean our teeth via brushing rather than by chewing certain types of foods - brushing is far superior and is considered to be the gold standard for humans and dogs
    - Large, hard bones are good entertainment for dogs, but are not effective teeth cleaners compared to the other options (brushing, 'dental' type kibble, rawhide chews or soft, meaty bones). They are quite effective at wearing teeth though and, for dogs that are persistent, powerful chewers, effective at breaking them too
    - 'In the wild' wolves/wild dogs do not lie around chewing on large animal bones. They kill an animal, eat the flesh and guts, and then leave the rest which is eaten by other scavenging animals
    - Soft meaty bones can help to clean teeth, but they do not always clean all teeth in the mouth equally effectively and the front teeth may miss out
    - Bones need to be of the kind that the dog must slice through and pass the gums through (i.e. soft and meaty). Cleaning under the gum line is very important
    - The most common problems with dogs are gum disease (due to tarter build up) and broken teeth. Dogs do not generally get tooth cavities unless you are feeding them sweets. The cavities she has seen have been caused by sweet eating, dogs being given sweet drinks like sweet tea (!), and sweet human biscuits. So don't give your dog sugary things.

    On the issue of pain felt by animals with diseased or broken teeth:
    - Mostly, animals do not show signs of dental pain even when it is in reality exquisitely painful
    - They know that broken and diseased teeth really do hurt because when an animal is anaesthetised and unconscious, touching the affected area with a probe will lead to an immediate skyrocketing of blood pressure and heart rate. The 'behind the scenes' reaction reveals the reality. So....
    - Regularly check your dogs' and cats' teeth for any signs of discolouration, red or swollen gums, chips, fractures etc. because your pet won't tell you they have a problem.

    In case you are wondering about the cost, it was surprisingly low at the equivalent of about £600. I thought it was going to be a lot more than that. The price isn't that important though - we are just really happy with the outcome :)
     
  8. editor

    editor Administrator

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Thank you for taking the time to give us all this detail Rachael, I'm going to set this topic sticky as there is so much useful information in it. :D
     
  9. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Oh poor lad Rachael , so pleased that he is ok now , albeit a bit spaced out , brave boy and thank you for the useful info too x
     
  10. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Haven't had chance to read all the fab looking info yet - but big hugs and licks to Obi, brave boy.
     
  11. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Wow,awoken from my nap,hope Obi has too and that he is feeling and acting ok?
    Thanks for all the info ...it's really interesting how the dates of when this happened can be pinpointed so accurately and I bet a relief really that it didn't happen in an 'incident'.the dental vets knowledge and expertise was well worth the drive to see her.,she sounds very thorough .I love that she advocates teeth brushing ;D I've persevered with it and now it is really quite easy.hes still a little wriggly,but I can navigate that now and get the job done quickly once a day.
    You are right,plenty of treats for the Obster tomorrow,does he to have a day off,Flyball,training?
    Hope you are ok too Rachael?Its been really quite an ordeal for you with the worry,wait and traveling.hope a nice,lunchi was your treat ? ;)
    Take care
    Bye for now x
     
  12. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Have now read the info - thank you, thank you, absolutely invaluable. Am pushing on with teeth cleaning, and redoubling my efforts to get this done in a smooth routine.
     
  13. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Rachael, so sorry poor Obi is having such an awful time and I truly hope he is ok today. Thank you so much for the very interesting information you posted about teeth. It always surprises me how Vets differ in their opinions with teeth cleaning, mine says it's a waste of time and bones do a better job. How on earth are we as dog owners ever supposed to get it right, I truly despair :mad:. Too late to start teeth cleaning here at 6 years old and
    2 3/4 years old, just have to hope for the best now :( Get better soon Obi, lots of slobbery licks from Hattie & Charlie. Helen xx
     
  14. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Thank you for all the info Rachael, and really hope poor Obi is ok now.
     
  15. lynnelogan

    lynnelogan Registered Users

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    thank you very much rachael ,.........my sons g/friend cleans jaspers teeth, not every day though,.......i will start doing this myself as she is only here 3/4 times a week,.........please keep us updated on obi,s progress,.......what a time you have had over the last few months,....hope things start to get better for you :)
     
  16. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    So glad Obi is all fixed up and hope he's back to his very best soon :)

    And thanks for all the info - extremely useful! :D
     
  17. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Thanks, everyone for your kind thoughts. I'm glad the info was helpful. I feel like I've learned a lot!! It's been a worry, but I am feeling pretty happy about things now.

    Obi is looking very bright this morning :) I think he'll be ok to go to flyball this afternoon.

    The vet dentist was absolutely fantastic. Our initial consultation was very long - she took a lot of time to explain everything and was really lovely with Obi too. She teaches vet dentistry at Sydney Uni and also works pretty hard to spread the word about dental care to other vets. This is a copy of a presentation (making the case for a stronger focus on teeth in general practice) that she gave to a group of vets (I just found it online) which has some useful info from an owner's perspective too: http://www.ava.com.au/sites/default/files/AVA_website/pdfs/NSW_Division/Hawke%20Why%20Teeth%20Matter%20Handout_0.pdf

    Helen, if you are giving your dogs soft, meaty bones (chicken, duck, rabbit, fish - that kind of thing) it will be doing a pretty good job of teeth cleaning. If their teeth look white and their breath is fine then I'd just keep doing what you're doing and check their teeth now and then and also get your vet to do it when you go for vaccinations or whatever. :)

    They had a puppy there yesterday who had a broken tooth and it had got a tetanus infection in through the broken tooth :( It was in a very bad way, poor mite.
     
  18. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Wow....really interesting, thanks Rachael.
    Hope Obi is back to his normal self very quickly.
    Hopefully you will get a while before your next vet visit ;)
    Poor guy...
     
  19. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Thanks Rachael I will watch that with interest when I have a bit more time ,glad Obi is feeling good today x
     
  20. Lisa

    Lisa Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Chipped teeth

    Interesting stuff - so glad Obi's okay now! I'll definitely have to look again for that "dental" kibble I fed my old dog.... His teeth really were fantastic his whole life. Somehow the thought of trying to do tooth brushing with Simba is just too daunting :eek:....I actually bought some frozen meaty bones at the pet store last week! How often should he get these? Any ideas?
     

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