Sting of the Dog Bite: Canine Dentistry at the Vet

I was a reluctant bride. Not because I didn’t want to get married, but because the wedding itself was daunting. We wanted to celebrate with our friends and to have a party, but I spent hours staring at our budget spreadsheet, thinking: “Really? That much?”

The quotes I’d had for one particular line item were so high that we devoted a whole evening to brainstorming and calling similar vendors. We even sent chat messages back and forth throughout the day, discussing other things we could do with the money. My favourite suggestion:

“We could get gold teeth for the dog AND the cat.”

Dog with Gold Tooth
Dog with Gold Tooth

Our dog loves big sticks. The bigger the better. He’s one of these:

Labrador with Big Stick
Photo from Buzzsharer

Which I think is how he broke one of his teeth: cracked it right in half. He’d always been friendly, but he suddenly started acting irritable – snapping out at other dogs who came close to his mouth, licking his lips more. This went on for a couple of weeks before I figured to pry his jaw open and look inside, and there it was: I could see the part of his tooth that I never wanted to see.

I didn’t realize that you would replace a dog’s teeth, but for some teeth – the ones that might affect the dog’s quality of life – you might want to. Luckily, the broken tooth was a minor one, but the experience introduced us to the world of canine endodontics.

I know, right? (via GIPHY)

Usually, vets will recommend a metal replacement tooth: because dogs chew bones, something like porcelain doesn’t make sense. Some dogs – like Police or Navy SEAL dogs – might even have their teeth replaced with titanium.

We didn’t have to get a gold tooth for our dog, but if it had been his canine, we might have. While now, we discourage him from carrying the biggest sticks (every time, he is disappointed), I don’t know that we would want to keep him from carrying balls, as it’s his greatest joy.

When learning about all of this, I remember feeling sad: our dog was getting better dental care than most people. Though we now joke about gold teeth for a dog as a luxury purchase – which, in a way it is – I also chalk it up as a typical “pet owner cost”. I am constantly surprised by what I’ll do for our pets: we’ll specially make food, or stay up all night nursing them if they’re sick. When we look at furniture, we think: “will they like it?”

But then, I guess we’re all fools in love. 🙂

dog sunbathing on rock
Love of my life.