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How bad are these molars?

tjagolf33
July 10th, 2012, 11:49 PM
Hi! I have a 13-(almost 14!)-year-old Lab who has great pearly white front teeth but his molars aren't the best. His vet has never mentioned them as being an issue, but I'm just sitting here looking at them and they definitely seem to have cavities. I was wondering how bad these seem to be and if you think he'll eventually need them pulled. Attached are photos of each side. FWIW, I brush his teeth about once a week. Think I should do so more often? By the way, they've been this way for quite some time.

http://i48.tinypic.com/210c848.jpg
http://i48.tinypic.com/33aquk1.jpg

Goldfields
July 11th, 2012, 10:52 PM
I don't see cavities, tjagolf33. The dip in that big carnassial molar is normal. He would benefit from either having them scaled or cleaned perhaps, but they are not bad. I bought two dental scalers many years ago, one with a sharp hook on it - useless - and one with a straight, slanted blade. All I do is carefully run the scaler just under the gum line, then downwards to remove any tartar, making sure to have a finger under the tooth to stop the blade hitting the gum on the lower jaw. Mine get done all their lives and I will admit that you can have a battle with a dog that has never been done, till it gets used to it.(Plenty of rewards for being good.) Got a 5 year old returned to me and we have had many fights about cleaning his teeth, but IMO that is still better than having to risk a general anaesthetic for the vet to clean them. I'm laughing at myself as I type this because it appears I can't even see a photo of dirty teeth without wanting to scale them. :D

Barkingdog
July 12th, 2012, 10:35 AM
Hi! I have a 13-(almost 14!)-year-old Lab who has great pearly white front teeth but his molars aren't the best. His vet has never mentioned them as being an issue, but I'm just sitting here looking at them and they definitely seem to have cavities. I was wondering how bad these seem to be and if you think he'll eventually need them pulled. Attached are photos of each side. FWIW, I brush his teeth about once a week. Think I should do so more often? By the way, they've been this way for quite some time.

http://i48.tinypic.com/210c848.jpg
http://i48.tinypic.com/33aquk1.jpg

It is impossible to tell what is wrong with a tooth from a photo and I don't think any vet would give you an answer. You really need to have a vet look at it if you think there is something wrong with the tooth. If your dog is having a
hard time eating hard food like a dog cookie I would bring it to the vet. Your dog could get an infection if the tooth is bad.

tjagolf33
July 12th, 2012, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the input guys! He has never shown any signs of pain and eats hard bones, etc. just fine. Fortunately he is the most easy going dog in the world and lets me pick at his teeth with one of those hook-shaped picks the dentist uses (I had one and when I asked the vet if I could try it on his plaque they said yes). However it doesn't get much off so I will definitely try the blade type one which you described. Thanks for the help!

tjagolf33
July 12th, 2012, 12:47 PM
Hi again-

My local pet store does not carry dental scalers, so I was checking out what was listed on Amazon. Is this the sort of thing you were talking about?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31PNEX7WzAL._SS400_.jpg

Thanks for the help!

Choochi
July 12th, 2012, 01:53 PM
I'm laughing at myself as I type this because it appears I can't even see a photo of dirty teeth without wanting to scale them. :D

OMG! I'm the same! :0

Yeah those are not pretty... they sure could use some scaling.. all that yellow build up needs to go. You can't tell visually if there are any cavities but all that build up if left alone will cause gum issues and loss of bone density in the jaw bed which could eventually lead to infections and the teeth needing to be pulled.

If I were you, I would get a scaler and try to scale those teeth to start with. I would ditch the brushing, that's not going to do any thing at this point with that much hard build up, it would be like trying to move rocks with a feather. Instead of brushing, I would give him large raw bones to chew on once a week, it would be much more efficient then brushing at cleaning the teeth, would get all the teeth in the back, and he would have a great time doing that. Some thing like a large knuckle bone. Not the smoked ones and not any sort of a raw hide, plain and simple large raw beef bones.

Goldfields
July 12th, 2012, 08:50 PM
I'll take a photo of my scaler when I get home from physio this afternoon, and post it for you. It's different. LOL@you, Choochi, it's terrible, isn't it, this urge to clean every dirty tooth. LOL.

tjagolf33
July 13th, 2012, 08:45 AM
I'll take a photo of my scaler when I get home from physio this afternoon, and post it for you. It's different. LOL@you, Choochi, it's terrible, isn't it, this urge to clean every dirty tooth. LOL.

Thanks that would be wonderful! The hook one I have really isn't worth a damn.

Goldfields
July 14th, 2012, 12:13 AM
This is a nightmare. I was in hospital for 9 days, have had a week at home concentrating on my recuperation, but read this and thought, well, I think I left the scaler on top of Bo's trolley. Can you guess? It isn't there! Leave it with me, tjagolf33, I may have to tear this house apart to find it , or my hubby apart if he's thrown it out, but truth is I will be needing it ASAP for my own 7 dogs. I should (fingers crossed) have a photo on one of the computers of both the scalers I bought, my panic though is about ever finding the sort we lost. I know a fellow sheltie breeder couldn't find one. I've had mine 20 years at least. One thing's for sure, if I find a source, you will be the first to be told. Wish me luck.

Goldfields
July 14th, 2012, 10:07 PM
No luck yet, but a friend I think has an identical one, so if she can find hers, she will send me a photo for you.

Goldfields
July 15th, 2012, 03:56 AM
Chris hasn't found hers but after looking at umpteen websites, a lot in the States, on Ebay etc., tonight I Googled just tooth scalers and found one that looks very similar to my old one, and here in Victoria. I'll phone them in the morning and ask for a better photo of it. The scaler in the photo above looks wickedly sharp and if your dog plays up maybe it could get a nasty cut on the gum, I wouldn't use it myself. If this is the right one it'd be easy enough to get one sent to you, tjagolf33.

tjagolf33
July 15th, 2012, 09:45 AM
Geez Goldfields, you didn't have to go through all that effort! Thanks so much, though, for all your help. Sorry to hear you've misplaced yours--hope you find it! Also sorry to hear you were in the hospital! My sister was just in the hospital for a week and a half after having her gallbladder nearly burst (they ended up having to remove it) and I know it wasn't a fun time for her. At any rate, I really appreciate your help. If you can't find the one you had, don't go crazy. I'll just see which one has the best reviews on a dog care website or something. At this point I think anything would do better than the one I was using. Again, I have one (probably like the one you used to have) which is shaped like a hook and only works if I scrape with the pointy end. I'll use it on him for like an hour and only get a very small amount off, which had led me to believe the rest wasn't really going to come off. But I'm so glad to hear that using a different style scaler could do the trick!

Goldfields
July 15th, 2012, 08:20 PM
:eek: NOT the dreaded hook!! I bought two, as I say, all those years ago, and one was the hook one you speak of. NEVER used it and ended up giving it to a friend seeing she was okay with it. No, mine had a flat blade. Good news anyway, I'm waiting for an email with a photo of the blade this company here have. It isn't an angled rectangular blade like my old one, but a triangle(? so they say) instead. It is like the one above, and my old one in that it is single ended(yay!) and I can't wait to see how it might work. I will post the photo here for you so you can see if you'd like one. And I DID have to panic, my dogs' teeth havn't been done for, let me see, 9 days in hospital + about the same at home. They are fairly cheap, so if I later find my old one it's not a worry. Stay tuned. :D Sorry there was all this drama. LOL.
Sorry your sister was so very ill. The patient in the bed next to me was having gall bladder trouble so I know how awful it can be. Wish your sister a speedy recovery for me. She must have been in agony, poor thing. I was just in for a total knee replacement - had to get a spare part so I could go on gardening and exercising my dogs.

tjagolf33
July 17th, 2012, 06:31 PM
Hey Goldfields,

No problem! You've done too much! Thank you sincerely. And good luck with your new knee! My sister's already been home for a couple weeks but she did have it rough there for a while. She's only 30, too... Such a peculiar thing to have happen to her! Anyways, does the company you were talking about happen to have a website? Just curious to browse around myself, see if they ship to the US, etc.

Thanks a million!

tjagolf33
July 26th, 2012, 09:36 AM
Well, I ended up buying one from Amazon (one of the dual-ended ones where each end is shaped like a rhombus, sort of). Would you believe that I was able to remove every last bit of the tartar on both his teeth??? They look brand new! Still has a darker/black area in the center area, but after looking at my friend's dogs' teeth and some pictures online I think this is normal.

tjagolf33
July 27th, 2012, 03:02 PM
For anyone who's interested, check out these side-by-side before & after pictures... you'd never believe it's the same dog...

http://i49.tinypic.com/15zgls1.jpg
http://i47.tinypic.com/zwz528.jpg

Below is a link for the scaler I bought in case anybody else is in the same predicament. It was like $7 with shipping. It took me a couple hours per tooth--and that's with the calmest dog in the world! You HAVE to be careful and go gently and SLOW--if your dog is jumpy you will likely cut him (I nicked his gums a couple times myself). It's weird, though, after a while the tartar cracks off like the shell of a hard boiled egg.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001RMB6QW/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00