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Dog Teeth Extractions: Your Questions Answered!

October 23rd, 2017 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Two pups sit in a field before heading to the vet for a dental evaluation.

There are times when dog teeth extractions can help your furry friend feel better. And there are other times when teeth extractions just aren’t necessary!

Let our Castle Rock veterinarians help guide you. We’ve put together the five questions we’re most frequently asked about this canine dental procedure, so you can make informed decisions for your pup.

#1: Are some dogs more prone to needing teeth extractions?

Many small-breed dogs get calculus faster than big-breed dogs. That calculus can get under the gum lines, causing problems.

With that said, it’s estimated that as four out of five dogs have periodontal disease by the time they’re four years old. So dental health is something we watch in every dog.

Bailey, the pug, shows a toothy smile. He's had a few teeth extracted in the last few years.

#2: When are dog teeth extractions necessary?

When our veterinarians clean your dog’s teeth, we check for damaged teeth and “pockets” — much like a dentist does with people. We also run digital x-rays to see what your dog’s teeth look like underneath the gum line. (Think of your dog’s teeth as icebergs. You can only see the top third of what’s going on.)

Your dog’s gums should be firmly attached to each tooth, so bacteria can’t get in and destroy the gum tissue, bone tissue and roots. That destruction (known as periodontal disease) is painful for your dog, and it can lead to serious issues.

Our veterinarians will recommend pulling teeth if we believe it’s absolutely necessary for your dog’s long-term health and wellbeing. This means your dog:

  • Is losing gum tissue, bone tissue and/or roots
  • Has one or more loose teeth
  • Is likely in a lot of pain
  • Is at higher risk for organ damage and a shortened lifespan

If we find abnormalities around a tooth, but the tooth itself is stable and isn’t infected, there are things we can do to try to save the tooth and improve your dog’s dental health.

Morris, the rottie, cocks his head.

#3: What do dog teeth extractions cost?

The best way to get a cost estimate for teeth extractions is to come in for a free dental evaluation. When we look at your dog’s teeth, we can give you a good ballpark. Then, when we run x-rays and see below your dog’s gum line on the day of the procedure, we can call you with the exact cost.

Keep in mind, if your dog has been been getting anesthesia-free teeth cleanings, your dog’s teeth may look great above the gum line, but there can be problems underneath. (Get the full scoop at: 5 reasons to get anesthetic dental cleanings.)

#4: Will my dog have stitches after teeth extractions?

Yes, there are usually stitches. Typically, they dissolve over two to four weeks.

Two dogs sleep under a sweater after having dog teeth extractions.

#5: What is the healing time and recovery process for teeth extractions? And will my dog need pain relief?

Much of the healing takes place in the first two weeks. We usually recommend a soft food diet. No chew bones. No teeth brushing.

Here’s a closer look at what you can expect after surgery. Keep in mind, this can vary depending on how many teeth your dog has pulled:

  • Immediately following surgery, we can give your dog a laser treatment to help with healing and reduce pain. This is 100% optional.
  • The night after surgery, we’ll give your dog extra pain medicine. Your pup may be acting a little groggy or restless. Usually, though, he’ll get back to acting normal — or better — the next day.
  • Your dog will be on an anti-inflammatory for a few days. We may also add a pain relief medication. And sometimes, we’ll put your dog on antibiotics to help battle any painful infections.
  • If your dog has had a lot of extractions, we’ll have your dog come back in to make sure everything is healing properly.

The good news is that many of our clients tell us their dogs act better AFTER extractions. The dogs have been in discomfort for some time and having the teeth out is a relief.

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Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

 This article is intended to provide general guidance on dog teeth extractions. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)

© 2017, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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