Here's today's question from the wide world of internet:
Hi. We have a 1.5yr old Samoyed. He cracked his fang tooth
in half with slight pulp showing. We have been referred to dental
specialist 150 miles away from us. He has put him on pain relief and
antibiotics for 2 months, apparently until the tissue around the tooth
dies so that they can do a root canal. This doesn't seem right and is
costing a fortune! What do you think?
I am no dental expert and I have not seen your dog. Having said that…
If the canine tooth (fang) has exposed pulp, then you really have three alternatives:
1. Do nothing, let the tooth abscess. The dog could be in pain for years. Bad idea. Imagine your tooth is broken and the nerve is exposed. Now imagine that you can't do anything about it… for weeks (or longer). Now imagine that it doesn't hurt. Good luck with that, huh?
2. Extract the tooth. The root is about twice the size of the exposed fang – huge, not all that easy to extract. This is oral surgery, and it isn't cheap, but it sounds cheap when you compare it to the cost of the root canal.
3. Root canal therapy. Saves the tooth (probably) and eliminates the dog's pain. Costs a lot, as it requires specialized equipment and specialized knowledge. Believe me, as someone whose family dentist performed a root canal that should have been done by an endodontic specialist the FIRST time, you don't want a "bargain" root canal.
In the immortal words of Charley Allnutt in "The African Queen", "You pays your money and you takes your choice."