Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dentistry

I saw two dogs today with very advanced periodontal disease -- caked on tartar, receding gums, mobile teeth, death breath -- all the things that make a normal human pull back with horror.  It gives me itchy fingers, because I can't wait to get in there and CURE that disease.  Teeth will be lost, but domesticated dogs don't need teeth to live, and besides, teeth that abscessed aren't being used to chew anyway.

For both cases, I sat down with the dog's owner, listing the reasons its important to restore good oral health (for pain relief, for heart health, for longevity), and going over an itemized estimate - preanesthetic bloodwork, IV fluids, anesthesia, X-rays, local dental blocks, extractions.  Bone grafts to preserve jaw strength after the teeth and infected bone is removed.  Suturing the extraction sites so that they heal with a simple incision instead of a big hole that has to fill in.  Antibiotics and pain meds to go home.

It's not easy to do it well, nor is it cheap.  It is going to take several hours of my time, and technical support, and a lot of good equipment.  It will make a huge difference in their quality of life.  Sometimes I want to help these dogs so badly, I wish I could do it for free.  I said that to one of the owners who said, "No!  I want you to stay in business so you can take care of my dogs!"  I so appreciated this, especially since I know the estimate was much higher than he anticipated, and he'll have to do some "juggling" to get it done.     And I was so pleased that both procedures got scheduled.   Good oral health, here we come!

1 comment:

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