2001-Tue Feb 28 00:51:13 MST 2017
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I have to confess: Last week I performed an
dental extraction on a patient whose owner was unavailable via
telephone to OK
the procedure. Now, it’s my policy to clear any extractions with
But since I knew this client well and the tooth was really far
gone, I took the
leap and extracted it anyway.
Of course, this turned out to be a terrible
fact, this owner was so upset over my transgression that I had
profusely and offer her the procedure as a courtesy (no charge).
had been a bad move on my part. But, in my defense, this tooth had
really, really needed
to be extracted.
Still, clients can be very sensitive about
this issue, and I should have
known better. After all, I deal in this kind of crisis on an
basis. Periodontal disease is serious. It's ugly. And tooth extractions can be necessary. Yet four out
of five times,
the conversation goes badly. Here’s a sampling of the most typical
my recommendation to extract one or more teeth:
“But how is she going to eat?”
that really necessary?"
“Seriously? She went in for a simple dental and
now you want
to pull her teeth?"
The pushback is enough to make a veterinarian
want to give
in to the pressure of owner expectations — or throw up her hands
frustration. But that wouldn’t be right — not when we’ve exhausted
alternatives (root planing, root canal, etc.) and know for sure that extraction is absolutely what’s best
for the patient.
To be fair, many “bad” teeth don’t really look
horrible when they’re sitting placidly in the mouth. Even when
surrounded by red gums and smocked in heavy tartar, it’s hard to
happening underneath the gum tissue. In many cases, it’s only when the animal is
and each tooth is individually examined and X-rayed that you can find the fractured or abscessed tooth. The bone destruction in the jaw. And even the fistula, or hole, between the mouth and the nasal cavity.
Because pet owners generally don't get to view these harrowing sights, dental denial is absolutely
understandable: “But they look just fine. How
bad can they be?”
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